What is Voluntary Defensive Driving?

Last updated: 12-13-2020

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What is Voluntary Defensive Driving?

If you’re looking to become a better driver, lower your car insurance premiums, or get a traffic ticket deferred, a voluntary defensive driving program might be right for you.

Here’s everything you need to know about voluntary defensive driving. 

Voluntary defensive driving is an optional course that teaches drivers how to be safer on the road. 

The term “defensive driving” comes from the National Safety Council, which launched the country’s first defensive driving course in 1964. Defensive driving is more than just safe driving practices; it’s training to drive in a way that takes the potential mistakes of other drivers into account.

For example, we all know drivers are supposed to stop at a red light, but sometimes drivers run red lights. So instead of assuming all drivers will follow traffic laws all the time, defensive driving teaches you to keep an eye on other drivers so you can protect yourself and your passengers if another driver makes a mistake.

Driver’s ed is typically required by your state before you can take the test(s) required to earn your driver’s license. Driver’s ed covers the basic rules of the road and how to handle a motor vehicle. Voluntary defensive driving, on the other hand, is not required. It teaches more advanced driving concepts and skills to help you stay as safe as possible behind-the-wheel.  

There are several possible benefits to taking a voluntary defensive driving program. 

Become a safer driver. The most important outcome of a defensive driving course is that you’ll learn to drive safer. Increased safety of drivers and passengers is the primary goal of defensive driving. Save money on your auto insurance. When you’re a safer driver, you’re less of a risk for your auto insurance company. Many insurance companies offer discounts on insurance premiums for drivers who complete a voluntary defensive driving program. You could save up to 10%! Get a traffic ticket deferred. Washington State allows drivers to defer one traffic violation every seven years when they take a voluntary defensive driving course. This deferment means your county court will not report your traffic violation to the state Department of Licensing (DOL), which would increase your insurance premiums.       Fulfill a court requirement. Sometimes a voluntary defensive driving program can be used to fulfill a court requirement for a traffic violation. You can state your intention to complete a voluntary defensive driving course at your court hearing and request approval from the judge to use this course to defer a traffic violation.

Voluntary defensive driving courses will also include a test at the end of the course to make sure you’ve covered the material and that you understand it. And once you pass your course test, you’ll receive a certificate of completion, which you can present to your auto insurance company (to get a discount on your premium) or to your county court (to defer your traffic ticket or satisfy your court requirement).

Here are a few tips to help you choose the defensive driving program that will work best for you:

IDriveSafely.com ticks all these boxes. Register for your Washington Voluntary Defensive Driving Program today. 


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