You may have heard about defensive driving but you may not know how taking a class can benefit you. Defensive driving is driving in a manner that identifies hazards and allows a driver to come up with a plan to avoid the hazard before it causes any damage. The strategy used also takes into account the idea that the defensive technique should not imperil any other driver or pedestrian in the process. It helps drivers to anticipate potential dangerous situations on the road and to manoeuvre around them.
The course differs depending on where you are and how intense or basic the course might be, but most cover a period of time anywhere from 4 hours to 8 hours long. Some regions offer an online course; others provide students with a DVD that they can watch from home, while other regions insist on classroom participation.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to defensive driving; one of which is the confidence that a driver will have armed with this extra knowledge when in control of a vehicle. Whether the driver is new or has been on the road for many years, training always brings with it a newly developed sense of confidence and competence. Another benefit is that taking a defensive driving course can actually reduce the points taken away on your license if you get caught with a speeding ticket. Some insurance companies will offer a reduced rate on vehicle insurance if the driver has this type of course and can prove it with a certificate. (The rate decrease is significant; typically around 10%)
What does the course cover?
There are a variety of topics that a Driving School will cover. They might include;
Accidents- It is estimated that 38% of crashes involve at least one driver using alcohol and about 30% involve at least one driver speeding. Caution and good judgement while a driver is on the road can reduce these incidents.
Drugs and Alcohol- Although alcohol use is covered somewhat in the Accidents part of the course, there is a separate segment to cover the affect that drug and alcohol use have on the human body and how it alters the ability of the driver to operate a vehicle safely. It will also touch on consequences of drug and alcohol use.
Psychological factors- You’ve no doubt heard of road rage; we’ve all been caught in situations on the highway that are outside of our control that cause stress or anxiety. Defensive driving classes can help develop creative and constructive ways of dealing with these issues.
Seat belt safety- With all of the information at our fingertips it’s surprising to hear about fatalities resulting from failure to wear a seat belt. This topic is also touched on in most classes.
The information provided in your course will differ depending on your driving school and the driving lesson instructor, but you should come away feeling more empowered and confident behind the wheel. One thing is for certain, taking this type of course is beneficial not only to the student, but also to everyone else on the road.