If you’re interested in completing an online defensive driving course, that’s great! You may be able to complete these courses online. Let’s take a look at defensive driving, its benefits, and tips and advice.
Defensive driving is defined as a type of driving training that exceeds the standard road rules and driving techniques. This type of driving reduces the risk of accidents and improves road safety.
Taking an online defensive driving course teaches you how to navigate roads in unfavorable conditions. The safe responses you are taught in a defense driving course teach you how to safely respond to potential hazards, such as damaged road surfaces, inclement weather, other drivers, debris, and more. Defensive driving courses also focus on all things that can potentially be harmful while traveling on the road.
Currently, the following 34 states offer online defensive driving courses:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- Washington D.C.
The National Safety Council (NSC) offers different online defensive driving courses. You can view the website to request more information about their online courses.
You should also check with your state to determine which courses may be available and how you can apply to complete them. Each state that allows online defensive driving courses has its way of conducting these exams, and there may be different requirements and criteria you must satisfy. Check your state’s website to discover the steps you need to take to enroll in these online courses.
In general, you can take the following steps to enroll in an online defensive driving course:
- First, you need to find a suitable online defensive driving course provider. Ask your friends, relatives, and co-workers for recommendations, or search online for providers.
- Once you have at least three providers to choose from, check out each provider’s website and view the courses that are offered. This step may require you to provide your residing state or the state where you received a traffic ticket.
- Complete the registration form and pay the course fee using a credit or debit card, or another payment method.
- Once you have access to the online courses, take your time and study at your own pace. You can use any device as long as they meet the system requirements.
- Complete the online course and receive your certificate! You may be required to pass a final exam or quiz to qualify for the certificate.
Of course, there are benefits of online defensive driving courses! The first benefit may be a “captain obvious” moment. When you take online courses, you are free to take these classes anywhere, such as in the comfort of your home, and you don’t have to worry about sitting in a classroom for hours. Other benefits of online defensive driving courses can include the following:
- Decrease the risk of accidents and traffic violations
- Minimize your exposure to liability risks and costs
- Potentially lower auto insurance premiums and auto accident claims
- A decrease in vehicle repair expenses and replacement costs
There are different defensive driving techniques that are great for you to keep in mind while you’re traveling. Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents and injuries. Remember these defensive driving techniques to help you and your passengers stay safe on the road.
One of the most essential defensive driving techniques is to stay focused. It’s easy to get too comfortable when you’re driving. It may sound funny, but it’s more common than you may think. When you get too comfortable while you’re driving, you’re not as alert as you could be, which could cause you to swerve into a different lane, make you sleepy, and other things that can cause an accident.
Whether you’re traveling a long or short distance, sit up when you’re driving. Position the driver’s seat at a comfortable angle, but you should be sitting up straight. The driver’s seat shouldn’t be reclined to the point that it is almost touching the seats behind you.
If you’re traveling a longer distance than normal, it’s easy for you to get tired halfway through the trip. Make sure you have a snack and something to drink. Aside from your favorite snacks and beverages, it’s also a good idea to make a playlist for your trip.
It’s safer to have the music you want to listen to ready to listen to rather than scrolling through your phone or other device to find tunes from your favorite artists. As we previously stated, distracted driving causes many fatalities each year, and scrolling through your phone for music while driving is a form of distracted driving. Make sure that your phone is set to hands-free calls so you can answer your phone without having to take your eyes off the road to reach for the phone.
Another part of being prepared is getting ready for unfavorable weather conditions. Check the weather before you leave your location so you know what type of road conditions to expect. In the event of inclement weather, leave your location at least 10 minutes early to arrive at your destination on time. If you know there will be a lot of traffic, it’s a good idea to leave even earlier to give yourself enough time to arrive safely.
Checking your surroundings helps you remain alert to the things that are going on around you. Although you can’t control other drivers, you can make sure you’re aware of what’s happening on the road. As you’re driving, look further ahead and behind you for potentially dangerous situations.
Once you’ve learned how to become more aware of your surroundings, it will be easier to predict risky situations. For example, if you notice a driver in another lane swerving from left to right and merging in and out of traffic, you’ll know to distance yourself from their car to prevent being involved in an accident.
When you’re assessing possible risks on the road, you’ll also need to create a strategy to avoid an accident. Using the example we provided above, if a driver is swerving in and out of traffic lanes (a type of reckless driving), not only do you need to distance your car from theirs, but you may also need to switch to a traffic lane that the other car is not in.
You may have been advised by other people to keep a safe distance from other cars. This is great advice and part of defensive driving! As a general rule, you should stay at least one car length away from the car in front of you. If you’re driving in inclement weather, stay at least two car lengths away from the car in front of you.
You can also use the three-second rule to help you remain at a safe distance from other vehicles. The three-second rule states that based on your current rate of speed, there should be at least three seconds of driving time between your car and the car in front of you.
Make sure that there is also enough space between your car and the car beside you and behind you. To keep a safe distance from the cars behind you, stay in the center of your lane. You’ll also need to determine the blind spots of other vehicles and avoid positioning yourself in that spot.
Tailgating is a common issue, especially when you’re traveling on the highway. If a vehicle is tailgating you, switch lanes when it’s safe to do so and allow the other vehicle to pass you. If you can’t switch lanes at the moment, slightly apply your brake so the car behind you is aware that you are going to slow down so they can pass you.
It seems to be common sense that everyone would want to stay safe on the road. However, safety is not on every driver’s mind, so don’t expect other drivers will be driving carefully. As you’re driving, pay attention to things that are in your control, such as your speed, the length you keep between cars, and how alert you are.
At the first sign of a problem, separate yourself. If it appears that a driver is under the influence, tired, or any other issue is occurring, remain a safe distance from their car and take extra precautions to ensure that you remain safe if the situation becomes worse.
Road rage is also common. If you notice that a driver appears upset at your driving, whether you’re driving too slow for them, they’re just having a bad day, or another reason, do not engage the other driver. Avoid making eye contact. It may seem silly, but road rage situations can escalate quickly.
Road rage is often easy to spot. You may notice a driver driving recklessly or repeatedly honking their horn at you and other drivers. In these situations, slow down and see if you can safely change to a different lane if they are beside or behind you. If they are in front of you, maintain a safe distance from their vehicle.
Switching lanes too often, weaving in and out of traffic can be deemed as a type of reckless driving. Frequently switching lanes increases your risk of being involved in an auto accident. When you need to change lanes, use your turn signal to let other drivers know you need to change lanes.
Sure, some people won’t be as willing as others to let you merge into the lane they’re in, but it’s always better to wait! Even if you miss a turn or an exit, you can take the next turn or exit and still reach your destination. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
You bet they are! Learning defensive driving strategies can help you become a safer, more responsible driver who is not easily distracted and knows what to look for in potentially dangerous and hazardous situations. Are you ready to master your online defensive driving courses? Great! Happy driving.