You may have heard about an online driving school but you might not know what they are or what they can do for you.
In this article, we’ll explore defensive driving programs and what you can expect to learn from an online course.
In 2017, close to 6.5 million car accidents occurred in the United States, with an approximate 35,000 resulting fatalities. What are the leading causes of these car accidents? Speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, intoxication, and aggressive driving.
In other words, human error leads to most car accidents. Do you want to learn how to avoid making these errors yourself? Do you want to know what to do if someone around you is driving erratically? If so, a defensive driving class like DriveSafe Online® can help.
How Can Online Driving School Benefit You?
If you want to reduce your car insurance cost, dismiss a traffic ticket, reduce points on your driving record, or just learn to be a safer driver, an online driving school offering defensive driving courses could be your best option. One of the most attractive benefits is that it’s all online, no classroom. You complete the driver education program when you want. Let’s take a closer look at each of these defensive driving benefits.
- Lower Auto Insurance Rate – One of the primary reasons to enroll in an online defensive driving school is to lower your insurance rate. Depending on your insurance agency, you can save up to 10% on your car insurance for up to three years after completing a driver education course. This can be especially useful for newer drivers who tend to have higher insurance rates.
- Dismiss a Traffic Ticket – Another way to get a lower car insurance rate is to keep your driving record clean. Many states allow drivers to dismiss certain traffic tickets by completing an online driving course. Laws and regulations regarding online traffic school vary from state to state, and possibly even court to court, so be sure to check with local authorities to find out what is acceptable.
- Reduce Points on Driver’s License – Some states add points to driving records for moving violations. The more points you have, the more driving restrictions you’ll have, and the more money you’ll pay for car insurance. These states typically allow drivers to complete an online driving class to remove a certain number of points during a specific time frame. Again, each state has its own regulations and qualifications, so be sure to check with authorities to learn what is acceptable.
- Be a Safer Driver – The most apparent benefit of defensive driving school is the knowledge you gain to make you a safer driver. When you are aware of traffic laws and regulations, and you’re prepared to identify and avoid potential driving dangers, you help make the roads safer for everyone.
Whether it’s been decades since you completed Driver’s Education and your memory of the rules of the road are a little hazy, or you want to prepare to pass the DMV written test, you could benefit from taking an online defensive driving course.
What Does Online Driving School Cover?
What you’ll learn in a defensive driving course may vary based on your state’s requirements and the program you select. DriveSafe Online® offers a variety of course options that range from one hour to a more in-depth eight-hour program.
Though information on specific laws and regulations may be different, each program covers important core content every driver needs to know to stay safe on the road. Let’s review some common topics you can expect to learn during an online driving school class.
Causes of Traffic Collisions
Defensive driving courses often explore common causes of car accidents. We’ve already mentioned the leading causes of crashes, but there are other obstacles to consider, as well.
For example, bad weather, blind spots, and wildlife in the roadway can also lead to car accidents. Oftentimes, we think of these sorts of unexpected accidents as being out of our control. However, knowing what to look for and exercising increased caution can prevent potential accidents.
Knowing the factors that can cause traffic accidents, and more importantly, knowing how to react to them, can make you a safer defensive driver.
What Happens During a Crash
What happens to your car and to your body during a car crash depends on several factors. These include the speed of the vehicle (or vehicles) involved, the place of impact on the car’s exterior, and the size of objects being impacted.
You might assume that a collision involving two moving cars will be worse than a collision involving one moving car and one stationary object. This is not always the case. For example, a car going 50 miles per hour and hitting a tree could be just as severe as a head-on collision between two cars going 25 miles per hour each.
The resulting damage caused by a car accident can be measured in three ways.
There is the first collision or impact between the vehicle and the object it is colliding with. The first collision assesses the damage done to your car.
Then there is a second collision or impact, which refers to the movement of the occupants within the car. During the second collision, you might hit your head or face against the windshield or injure your external body in some way. By discussing second collisions, drivers learn how to increase their safety within the car even in the event of a first collision.
Finally, the third collision or impact refers to the movement inside the body during a car accident. Severe, high-impact accidents can cause internal bleeding or damage to the organs. It is because of this possible third collision that you should always consider medical attention after an accident, even if you don’t look too banged up.
Utilizing Safety Equipment
We know that some cars are safer than others. However, all vehicles should be equipped with basic safety features that are designed to lower the risks of second and third collisions.
Defensive driving programs share the best ways to utilize your safety equipment. This may include properly positioning your headrest or locking your seat in at the right distance from the wheel. It can even include making sure your seat belt is crossing the right areas of your body.
Most of the safety equipment in a vehicle is designed to adjust based on a person’s height. However, weight is also an important factor, especially when it comes to children.
There are certain laws and guidelines that have been put in place to lower the risk of injuries for children riding in vehicles. As the driver, it is important that you make sure you create a safe environment for all passengers, not just yourself. Make sure you know who can safely sit in the front seat and what kind of car seats are necessary for your younger or smaller passengers.
Dealing with Psychological Factors
Safe driving requires constant alertness. The saying goes, “Keep your eyes on the road,” but any experienced driver knows that their eyes have to be moving from the road to their mirrors and side windows in order to remain aware of their surroundings.
There are certain psychological factors that can distract or inhibit your ability to pay full attention to driving. Defensive driving school courses examine many of these factors, including attitude, habits, feelings, and emotional state. Sadness and depression and even overwhelming happiness can hinder your safety behind the wheel because your focus on the road may be jeopardized.
It’s important to know when you’re not in the right mindset to drive or how to refocus your attention if you’re already driving.
Another psychological factor to deal with is fatigue. The National Sleep Foundation reports that driving after a waking period of 18 hours is like driving with a 0.5 blood alcohol level. Up that to 24 hours and it’s like driving with a 0.10 blood alcohol level.
For reference, a 0.8 blood alcohol level is considered legally drunk. You wouldn’t drive when you’re drunk, so don’t drive when you’re drowsy.
Other psychological factors that can be distracting for drivers are high levels of stress, anxiety, mania, and road rage. A defensive driving class teaches you how these psychological states can affect your driving and provides steps you can take to combat them.
Driving Under the Influence
While we’re on the subject of blood alcohol levels, let’s talk about driving under the influence. DUI doesn’t just refer to the influence of alcohol. It also includes any drug that affects your cognitive and physical responses.
Online driver education courses discuss the frequency of DUI-caused accidents to raise your awareness of their prevalence. They also discuss the laws dictating DUI’s and what counts as driving “under the influence.” Additionally, driver improvement programs cover how different substances alter your mental and physical state that make driving dangerous.
We’re not always aware of our slowed reflexes when we’re under the influence. It’s easy to assume that we can still safely drive. The tips and techniques you learn in defensive driving school can help you combat those thoughts and rationalize with yourself before getting behind the wheel.
State Traffic Laws
Since written DMV tests focus on state laws and regulations, completing an online driver’s course can serve as a helpful content refresher to help you pass the written DMV test.
Because state traffic laws may differ, it is important that you find an online defensive driving school that offers lessons customized to your state. This can be especially helpful for people who have recently moved to a new state or are living in a state other than the one where they first learned to drive.
There’s no way to prevent unforeseen events that could lead to a collision from happening. For example, you can’t stop others from texting or driving under the influence. Nor can you stop surprise rainstorms from making the roads slick.
However, there are techniques you can learn to minimize your own risk in the event that dangerous or surprising things occur around you. The section of defensive driving school geared towards preventative techniques is one of the most beneficial.
Some techniques involve driving more mindfully so that you aren’t causing a collision, while others are geared more towards reacting appropriately to outside factors.
Keeping a Safe Distance
Keeping a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you and knowing your vehicle’s break time can lower the risk of rear-ending another car. Using your turn signals appropriately and checking thoroughly before turning or merging into another lane can help you to avoid side-swiping another car or even cutting another driver off. Of course, you should always follow the rules of the road, but keep your space from other drivers who may not do the same.
Reacting to Emergencies
Reacting appropriately to emergency situations can be difficult. You often have very little time to think. It’s easy to panic and lose control of your vehicle. Identifying potential road hazards, and successfully reacting to them, can make you a safer driver.
For example, adjusting the way you drive when a rainstorm hits can minimize your chance of hydroplaning or skidding. Take it slow, ease into braking and accelerating, and be mindful of turns or curves in the road.
Defensive driving is all about preventing accidents through awareness and calm reactions to your surroundings. You can’t predict everything, but you can be prepared when something unfortunate or risky comes your way.
Sign Up for Defensive Driving School Today
Whether you want to lower your auto insurance costs, dismiss a ticket, reduce points on your license, or maybe you simply want to improve your driving skills, completing a defensive driving school could be exactly what you need.
At DriveSafe Online®, our classes are designed to work with your busy schedule. They’re totally accessible on desktop, laptop, or tablet and can be paused and resumed at any time.
Once you complete the course, you have the option to receive your course completion certificate immediately or have it emailed directly to your insurance agent or court representative.
Browse our website to learn more about our courses and how they work. We do our best to provide all of the necessary information, but let us know if you have any further questions. Help us help you to make the roads safer for everyone!