3 Things They Don’t Teach You in Defensive Driving School

Last Updated: June 27, 2021 |
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Driving is a necessary part of most people’s lives. Without it, most individuals wouldn’t be able to complete daily tasks such as work, school, or shopping for groceries.

The more we drive, the likelier we are to get too comfortable behind the wheel. Drivers today forget simple driving cues, find distractions, or let their emotions get the best of them. These lapses in focus and attention are leading to more and more accidents.

Improve your driving by attending a defensive driving school. These schools teach the skills to improve your driving and help make the roadway a happier and safer place.

They don’t, however, hold all the answers to your success. After schooling, there are plenty of skills you’ll need to practice on your own.

Do you want to improve your driving skills? Here’s what a defensive driving school will cover.

What Is Defensive Driving School?

If you want to improve your driving or reduce the added points on your driver’s license, attending a driving school is the right solution.

Defensive driving schools offer courses designed to reduce your risk of getting into an accident. The skills you learn in these courses teach you to observe your surroundings and identify potential hazards. Should you see a possible hazard, you’ll learn how to react quickly to avoid an accident.

The driving skills you’ll learn don’t end there.

With a defensive driving course, you’ll learn how to make these safe decisions based on the road conditions and your environment. This important aspect of defensive driving will prevent you from affecting others or getting into another accident.

A defensive driving class will go beyond understanding basic traffic laws and driving procedures. You’ll learn how to execute safe evasive driving techniques but still gain a refresher on general traffic laws.

Anyone can benefit from attending a defensive driving class.

How Defensive Driving Schools Differ From Driver’s Education

The main difference between a defensive driving school and driver’s education is the former is for intermediate to advanced drivers. In simpler terms, you need some experience driving with a legal driver’s license.

Driver’s education courses are for students who are learning to drive a vehicle for the first time. These students have limited driving knowledge and don’t have or never had a legal driver’s license.

The other significant difference is defensive driving schools dive deeper into each subject. With defensive driving, there are lessons teaching you about the consequences of your actions while driving.

The focus of a defensive driving school is to teach or reteach people how to be better safer drivers.

Some of the skills found in a defensive driving course are a part of driver’s education. This includes being observant, staying focus, and not assuming other drivers’ intentions.

Without a doubt, you’ll learn many valuable skills in driver education and defensive driving courses. While they offer many valuable skills and lessons, there are a few skills driving schools don’t include. You will need to learn the following three lessons on your own.

1. Be a Courteous Driver

One of the best ways to improve the safety of the roads—and your driving—is to be courteous. While many driving and traffic schools will touch on this, none really dive deep into what being a courteous driver actually means.

Here are a few simple tips you can follow to become a more courteous driver.

Avoid Tailgating

Whenever someone drives very close to your rear bumper, they’re tailgating. This practice is rude and distracting to other drivers. It’s dangerous and likely to cause you to get into an accident should the vehicle ahead of you stop.

Always leave a safe amount of space between you and the next car.

The Left Lane Is a Passing Lane

Riding in the left lane causes traffic to build up behind you and slow down. The left lane is for passing vehicles. If you’re not passing anyone, move to the right lane and let those behind you pass.

Keep Your Cool

Staying calm while driving will improve your focus and help you make better decisions while driving. Allowing fear, stress, or anger to overwhelm you will increase your chances of getting into an accident.

Don’t Cause a Traffic Jam

There’s such a thing as being too nice. Letting in a continuous stream of vehicles onto the highway or freeway may seem nice but it can lead to accidents and traffic jams. Let one or two vehicles in and keep moving to prevent a traffic jam.

Don’t Gawk

Staring, slowing your driving, or stopping for a car accident or motorist who doesn’t need your help can cause an unwanted traffic situation. Keep your focus on the road.

Waves Are Powerful

The best drivers may have a lapse in judgment and accidentally cut another driver off. Another driver may slow down to let a vehicle onto a busy roadway.

In both of these situations, a wave can be powerful. Waves are friendly ways to say “I’m sorry” or “thank you” depending on the circumstance. They can help prevent a stressful situation from escalating to something worse.

2. Knowing How Your Vehicle Works

Do you know the function and purpose of every button and lever in your vehicle? Be honest, are there a few things you don’t know?

As human beings, we rarely ever read our vehicle’s owner manual. When we do, we usually check it when something is wrong. 

While driver’s ed and defensive driving schools will teach you the general features of a vehicle, they won’t teach everything. The reason being that there are hundreds of different makes, models, and years of vehicles. It would take months to cover every aspect of every vehicle.                       

As a responsible driver, you will need to take the time to understand how your vehicle works. If you must, take out the owner’s manual and find out what unique features your vehicle has.

For example, does your vehicle come equipped with four-wheel drive? If so, do you know how to turn it on and use it? If not, you’ll need to find out how to turn it on and how to drive with it.

This also includes interior buttons and computers. Most modern vehicles have a touchscreen that can tell you everything you need to know about your vehicle. Make sure you know how to use it safely and efficiently.

Knowing how to safely use your vehicle will minimize distractions and help you become a better driver.

3. Using Your High Beam Headlights

If you’ve driven your vehicle at night, you should be aware of your vehicle’s multiple headlight settings. Of course, these settings will vary from car to car.

Generals education and defensive driving schools may touch on the subject of using your headlights. At most, you’ll learn to use headlights when it starts to get and when it’s raining or snowing.

Learning when and how to adjust your headlights is up to you. 

Nearly every car has low beam and high beam options. Your low beams are best suited for driving in the city, around on-coming traffic, and during the day when it’s raining or snowing.

Your vehicle’s high beams offer a greater amount of light when driving in the dark. These are best for unlit roads and driving at night.

While they may improve your visibility, the bright light produced by these beams can blind oncoming traffic. This can cause them to swerve into oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on collision. Your high beams can affect the vision of those driving ahead of you as the light will reflect onto the driver’s mirrors.

It’s worth noting that lowering your high beams around oncoming traffic is respectful to others on the road. The roadways are a space shared with others.

When to Avoid Using Your High Beams

Anytime you see oncoming traffic, drive behind another vehicle, or drive in a well-lit area, use your low beams. You’ll still receive plenty of light without impeding the vision of others.

Avoid using your high beams in inclement weather, such as heavy snow, rain, or fog. Using your high beams will cause more light to reflect on the snow and fog making it harder to see. Your low beams and fog lights will offer the right amount of light needed in these conditions.

Benefits of a Defensive Driving School

A defensive driving school will teach you valuable driving skills that will make you a better driver. Besides improving your skills, a defensive driving course can offer more great benefits.

One such benefit is reducing your points and fines if you have a driving violation. A defensive driving course can remove the ticket or violation from your record.

These classes can save you money on your auto insurance policy. Some states require insurance companies to offer discounts for those who complete a defensive driving class.

Give a Defensive Driving Class a Try

A defensive driving school will teach you many valuable driving skills but not everything. By implementing these three skills with your defensive driving skills, you’ll be one of the safest drivers on the road.

Do you want to improve your driving skills with a defensive driving class? Find your state to see what courses we have available near you! The best way to improve your driving is to continue learning and practicing new skills.