Defensive Driving Courses: Are They Worth It?

May 1, 2020 | Driving Safety

Every driver knows that the road ahead is full of uncertainty. No matter how routine the trip, you can’t control everything that can go wrong in traffic, and accidents happen, even though many of them are preventable.

The companies that offer defensive driving courses claim that they can help reduce accidents while saving you money on your car insurance. These are both claims that are worth exploring — unless, of course, you are resigned to being involved in accidents and seeing your insurance rates soar.

What is a Defensive Driving Course?

At its most basic, defensive driving is a form of driver education instruction, offered either online or in a classroom. But “driving improvement course” doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as “defensive driving.” Most of us consider ourselves to be great drivers already. That may be true, but these courses tend to focus on skills far beyond the usual “rules of the road” you get in basic driver’s ed classes; they are designed to help you deal with emergency situations and bad weather, avoid collisions, anticipate what other drivers are doing in stressful traffic scenarios, and generally improve your chances of safely getting where you’re going.

What are the Benefits of Taking a Defensive Driving Course?

Hard data on the extent to which such classes actually prevent accidents is hard to come by. There is evidence that teen drivers who take defensive driving lessons have fewer accidents than those who take more generic driver’s ed training. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits for older drivers, too. One survey of defensive driving grads by the Colorado State Patrol found that 89 percent believed the class had made them safer drivers. One New York study suggests that those who successfully completed defensive driving courses had 20 percent fewer accidents than the driving public at large.

Some people who take defensive driving courses are doing so because of court orders or in an effort to reduce points on their license stemming from some accident or other traffic infraction. Yet there are other reasons that such a course might be worth your time. Insurance companies often offer discounts for customers with good driving records who’ve taken such courses; clearly, the companies believe in the studies that indicate a solid defensive driving course can reduce your risk of being in an accident.

How Much Money Can I Save?

If your primary goal in taking a defensive driving course is to save money on your car premiums, it’s important to determine you’re taking a state-certified course which meets the requirements of your policy. Consult your insurance agent before signing up. The sort of discounts available can vary significantly from one company to another and may also depend on the state in which you reside.

Classes vary in cost, with no-frills online courses ranging from $20 to $100 in price. (Classroom or on-the-road instruction can be much higher.) Assuming that your insurance company accepts the online route, this can be a convenient way to save big on your policy. With typical insurance discounts offered in the five-to-ten-percent range, you would make back the amount you spent on the course in no time at all and begin reducing your annual auto premium costs as well.

Sure, accidents will happen. But a little extra care, awareness, and study can help reduce your individual risk, while getting rewarded by your insurance company for making the effort.

The Car Accident Attorneys at FDAzar

For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora,  Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 720-372-2824 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.