Defensive Driving is essentially driving in a manner that utilizes safe driving strategies to enables motorists to address identified hazards in a predictable manner. These strategies go well beyond instruction on basic traffic laws and procedures.
With defensive driving classes, students learn to improve their driving skills by reducing their driving risks by anticipating situations and making safe well-informed decisions. Such decisions are implemented based on road and environmental conditions present when completing a safe driving maneuver.
Benefits of Defensive Driving
The benefits of taking a defensive driving class vary with each state, but often include a reduction of points on your driver’s license following a ticket and the assurance that insurance rates will not increase. In some states, taking a defensive driving course can mean a reduction of up to 10% in your insurance rates for a period of three to five years.
Just as the benefits of defensive driving classes vary with each state, so do the requirements. While most basic defensive driving classes are four hours long, some can be as long as six or eight hours.
In some states, students have the option to take defensive driving courses online or by watching a video tape or DVD, while other states only allow students to take defensive driving in a classroom setting.
What’s Included in a Basic Defensive Driving Course
The contents of a defensive driving course are regulated by each state and are designed to train you based on the laws of your state. However, most defensive driving classes contain similar information.
The sections below provide a basic outline of the information that is typically covered in defensive driving courses.
Losses from traffic crashes have both social and personal impacts. Approximately 41,000 die annually as a result of traffic collisions, with an additional 3,236,000 injuries. About 38% of all fatal car crashes are alcohol related with another 30% attributed to speeding.
The causes of these crashes, emotional impact and cost in dollars spent on car crashes are typically covered in defensive driving courses. The goal of good defensive driving is to reduce the risk of these accidents by properly educating students to exercise caution and good judgment while driving.
On the roadways, drivers have to deal with several factors that can affect their driving. Though some of them are beyond the control of the driver, psychological factors can be controlled by the driver if he knows what to look for and how to handle it.
Defensive driving courses tend to focus on how drivers can overcome negative psychological factors such as unneeded stress, fatigue, emotional distress and road rage. They also offer instructions for developing a positive attitude behind the wheel and increasing your focus on the driving task.