What's Covered in a Defensive Driving Course?

By: Staff Writer August 2, 2012
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A defensive driving course, or what some call traffic school, benefits all drivers, regardless of age or driving ability.

A typical class, which includes online defensive driving programs, covers:

  • Traffic crash statistics, including times when most crashes occur and age groups with the highest accident rates.
  • The dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI or DWI).
  • The dynamics of a crash. This pertains to how speed, place of impact and size of vehicle affects the severity of the collision.
  • An extensive look at safety equipment, addressing the importance of seat belts, head rests, air bags, and child safety seats.
  • Crash prevention techniques. This touches on a long list of driving tactics including proper following distances, scanning roadways, sharing the road with other vehicles, proper passing procedures, speed adjustments in different weather conditions, and knowing your vehicle's braking distance.
  • The risks of driving while fatigued, stressed, or angry.
  • Your respective state's traffic laws.

Why Enroll in a Traffic School

Besides the obvious benefit of making you a better driver, there are several other reasons to enroll. These include:

  • Many auto insurance providers reward enrollment with lower premiums. Contact your car insurance agent and ask if this money-saving option exists with your plan.
  • Traffic tickets. Depending on your state or situation, completing a defensive driving course may prompt your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or presiding court to dismiss the charges. This could possibly prevent your drivers license from getting suspended or revoked. For example, say you have an excessive number of speeding tickets on your driving record, and you just got flagged again, putting you in jeopardy of being declared a habitual offender. Having the ticket removed could possibly save your driving privileges.
  • Some states reward traffic school enrollment with the removal of points. New York, for example, trims up to four points from a driving record. The exact number of points removed depends on state.

If you enroll for the purpose of tickets or points, be sure the traffic school you enroll in meets state approval. Otherwise, you will not be credited. Play it safe by obtaining a list of approved traffic schools from your local DMV.

Do you have any defensive driving course experiences you'd like to share with our online family? Share your knowledge below in our comment section.

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