On the list of fun activities you could potentially do on a Saturday, taking a defensive driving class is surely ranked near the bottom. But last spring, I was willing to spend 5.5 hours doing exactly that. Here’s why.
Look into a defensive driving class
I first learned about the class from my auto insurer way back in 2020 — and since my state allows drivers to complete it every three years in exchange for a lower auto insurance rate, I came up for renewal in 2023. And since I didn’t have to actually go anywhere to take the class, it was an easy decision. The class is entirely online, and you can even split it up over a few days if you need to (although, I found it was best to power through).
It only cost me $24.95, and I received a certificate that I then sent a scan of to my insurance company. It’s saving me $82 a year on my auto insurance premiums. I have a clean driving record, but if you have points on your license, taking a class like this might even reduce them, depending on the state where you live. In short, this was time and money well spent.
An unintended (but welcome) consequence
When I first took the class, it was directly because I wanted to save money on my insurance premiums every month. (And since that was in spring 2020 and I was facing a lot of uncertainty with my job at the time, thanks to COVID-19, saving money was even more important.) But I found that in addition to a lower insurance bill, I also became more aware of the dangers present in driving, and it has made me a more careful driver.
I can’t affect the actions of the people I share the road with (a shame, let me tell you), but I can moderate my own speed, pass other cars with even more care, and avoid distracted driving. Watching your speed while you drive in particular is one of the best ways to stay safer on the road — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed was a contributing factor in 29% of traffic fatalities in 2021, and it’s been involved in one-third of fatalities over the last two decades. This statistic was included in my defensive driving class and I think about it every time someone blows past me on the highway going 20 MPH or more over the speed limit. Absolutely terrifying.
I may not be able to control the people around me, but I can control my own driving, and taking the class made me more aware of the possible heartbreaking and life-ending consequences of my actions. And being a safer driver has also saved me money, as filing auto insurance claims has (thankfully) been a rare occurrence in my life.
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If you’re looking for a relatively easy and fairly painless way to save on your auto insurance costs, ask your insurer about a defensive driving class discount. You might have to give up a Saturday — but it’ll be worth it, in multiple ways.
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