Enrolling in a defensive driving course will help you improve your driving skills and how you react and anticipate unexpected things that could happen while you are driving. These include dangerous situations. Defensive driving ultimately helps you sharpen your reaction time and improve how you control your vehicle, whether a car, motorcycle or another heavy vehicle. Many think that defensive driving courses occur at high speeds or on a racetrack. However, they are not.
In most cases, defensive driving classes will follow a set of formulas in regards to what they will cover during the day, and they usually span 7 hours for courses for cars and will last 4 hours for heavier vehicles.
The theory portion of the driving class will typically be held inside of a classroom and will usually cover the following topics:
- Scanning techniques
- Understanding how humans factor into the equation
- Keeping track of vehicle performance and systems
- Perceiving hazards
- Proper braking distances
- Defensive driving techniques
- Reducing and managing any risks related to driving
- Managing fatigue
After the theory portion of the classes is complete, you will then move on to the practical component. This can usually take place at a racetrack or a large parking lot. Vehicles can sometimes be shared between students if provided by the course instructor. You will learn about the following:
- Maintaining your vehicle
- Maneuvering at low speeds
- Avoiding accidents
- Emergency braking
- Proper seating position
- Different steering techniques
Defensive driving courses typically cost between $200 to $400, and it will depend on if you have already taken lessons with the instructor conducting the course, where the course and facilities are located, and if there are any special add-ons to the course. You might also be able to find a deal on a discount website or a coupon site that will give out student discounts. You can also usually use your vehicle to complete the course. If a car is provided, it will usually be more expensive, plus you will need to share with other classmates.
Another thing that can influence the cost of the course is the different features a facility has access to. For example, a skid pan or a specialist facility that features other road surfaces will usually cost more.
Defensive driving classes are not mandatory to take for regular drivers. Certain companies might require their drivers to graduate from one if they are expected to drive company vehicles as part of their job and to help reduce their insurance costs. In other cases, if you lose your license, you may be required to complete a defensive driving course to get it back.
And in some countries, completing a defensive driving course could allow you to save money on your insurance or gain access to deals from insurance providers.