I’ve got a confession to make. Sometimes, I drive to fast and I speed. I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again. And guess what? I’ve gotten speeding tickets. If you think that I’m a bad actor and as far as driving to fast is concerned, you’d be correct (though this isn’t a normal occurrence for me. Really!). However, I haven’t had to actually pay a speeding ticket recently due to the fact that (at least in the state of Texas), citizens can often take defensive driving instead of paying the fine (and the resulting insurance rate increase). This is often left up to the judge’s discretion as to who is granted permission to take defensive driving and some states have requirements that you cannot take defensive driving more than once during a certain time period (say 1 year or 6 months).
However, I’ve noticed that the different types of defensive driving school courses vary wildly in cost and type. If you’re ticketed for speeding, by all means check your local laws to see if defensive driving is even offered in your state.
But, if you think defensive driving might be an option for you to pursue, use this quick checklist to make sure you are researching all of your potential options.
1) Look at online options: Did you know that in some states, you don’t even have to go to a physical classroom. You can take your defensive driving course entirely online. Do you really want to spend your time driving back and forth to some random training facility for 8 hours a day trying to pass a quiz and get relieved from your ticket? I sure don’t. I’ve taken defensive driving courses online and they are really great. Usually there is a quiz at the end of a section and many of the educational scenes are displayed in graphics. It’s almost like watching a cartoon. The cartoon might not be the funniest thing you’ve ever watched, but it’s certainly nice to watch the entire course from the comfort of your home.
2) Go for the comedy option: If you can’t do it online, you might as well have a little comedic interlude in your driving school. Several cities’ comedy clubs augment their incomes (I think) by having defensive driving school at their clubs when their regular business isn’t in full session. Reports of the comedy option range from the sublime to the awful (much like comedians themselves), but if you can get a good recommendation of a place in your city, try it out. You might find it to be a delightfully funny experience.
3) Locations are fine and dandy: but if you don’t learn anything, you’ll quickly find yourself being ticketed again.
In fact, parts 1 and 2 are almost unimportant as compared to the meat of the defensive driving experience. Learn the important parts. It can save lives. And once you know all about driving correctly you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money in the future.