A Defensive Driving Course Benefits Drivers of All Ages
Too often, perhaps, adults assume that driver education and a defensive driving course apply only to teen drivers and other novice drivers. The reality, however, is that defensive driving skills serve people for a lifetime, and often those skills periodically need to be updated and honed.
As drivers gain years of experience they become more proficient. However, as life changes and circumstances vary, adults often find themselves in a new situation where a defensive driving course comes in handy. New parents suddenly realize that they are transporting precious cargo when their little ones are in the vehicle, and before long they will be in charge of providing effective driver training for their teenagers. As we age we also must come to understand and accept our physical and mental limitations that may affect our driving ability. Along the way, the occasional traffic citation also may send even the most experienced drivers searching for a reputable and recognized defensive driving course.
Defensive Driving Course Guidelines
In 2006, the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association’s Curriculum and Standards Committee set out its guidelines for effective driver education programs. The document includes an ADTSEA-supported comprehensive instructional program that keeps lifelong learning in mind, and it includes recommendations for several phases of a defensive driving course. Certainly, the most intensive and comprehensive training periods should occur during pre-licensing and the graduated licensing phase, a time when teenage drivers are gradually allowed to participate in more risky driving situations. However, the committee also recognizes the need for the continued licensing phase, when personal or professional circumstances or court orders necessitate additional training. The ADTSEA updated the document in 2010, and it continues to investigate and identify the most effective driver education methods for both novice and experienced drivers.
Defensive driving course requirements vary from state-to-state, and, in some cases, the state has turned control over to local entities. Thus, defensive driving course requirements in those states may vary from one local government to the next. A handful of states do not require driver education prior to licensure at all. A July 2011 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report indicates that among the 10 states in its research study, all generally followed the ADTSEA suggestions for defensive driver course programs. The main differences between the programs and the ADTSEA recommendations were the specific materials used and the time allotted to cover each topic. Additionally, some states allow students to take the entire in-class portion online. The report concludes that most driver education courses provide at least 30 hours of instruction and the curricula generally cover the topics the ADTSEA strongly recommends. In most states the commonly referred to “online defensive driving school” or classroom based defensive driving class run typically 5-10 hours depending on the state requirements.
A Defensive Driving Course is a Valuable Tool
A defensive driving course teaches potentially life-saving skills. Vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among people ages 2 – 39 and 50 – 72, according to the National Safety Council. Learning how to drive defensively enables a driver to react quickly and appropriately when unexpected hazards arise due to driving conditions and the actions of other motorists. Additionally, completing a defensive driving course may help family members of all ages – from teens to senior citizens – save money on insurance rates and help to resolve traffic violations.
With a little effort, you can receive the benefits of an approved online defensive driving course in your state.