Why You Should Always Practice Defensive Driving
If you’ve ever taken a driver’s education class, you’ve probably heard the term “defensive driving” before. Defensive driving programs started being instituted in 1964 and continue to be widely used today. But what is defensive driving? Defensive driving is officially defined as “driving to save lives, time, and money in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Defensive driving shouldn’t be confused with aggressive driving. Aggressive driving poses a danger to other drivers by causing unnecessary hazards; defensive driving is all about keeping yourself safe and learning how to anticipate unpredictable circumstances.
Defensive driving goes beyond the basic rules of the road and is instead meant to empower drivers with good, general skills to help avoid car accidents, regardless if you’re driving a car, a truck, or a motorcycle. No matter how good of a driver you might be, you can’t assume all other drivers on the road are as diligent as you are. After all, drivers are human and as such, are prone to making mistakes. Also, no amount of education can prevent an otherwise responsible driver from sliding around if their car suddenly hits a patch of ice. Although you can’t control what another driver does, you can control how you react to their behavior and that is what defensive driving is intended to help with.
If you haven’t taken a driver education class since you were a teenager and first got your driver’s license, there might be some benefits in taking a refresher class. Some auto insurance providers offer a “safe driver” discount to drivers who successfully complete a defensive driving class voluntarily. Contact your auto insurance provider to find out if you might be eligible for a discount like this.
In some cases, you may be able to have a traffic ticket dismissed by taking a defensive driving class. In Michigan, being able to take a defensive driving class to get a traffic ticket dismissed only applies to certain infractions and if the following requirements are met: you have a valid non-commercial driver’s license, you have two points or fewer on your record, the infraction is a non-criminal offense, and it’s an eligible offense that is worth 3 points or less. Defensive driving classes typically cost around $100 and take anywhere from 4-12 hours to complete. If you wish to take a defensive driving class to have a ticket waived in the state of Michigan, you must complete the class within 60 days of receiving the ticket. For a list of approved defensive driving classes approved by the state of Michigan, a complete list is available on the Secretary of State website.
If you take a defensive driving class, your class will cover things such as defensive driving techniques (being alert, looking ahead, keeping a good following distance, etc.), Michigan traffic laws, the dangers of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and how to safely share the road with other motorists and pedestrians. In Michigan, defensive driving education classes can completed either online or in a traditional classroom setting.