Teenagers are often encouraged to take a safe driving course to improve their skills early on, but every driver regardless of age can benefit from a safety course.
In 2014, more than 2 million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While that is a slight decrease from the year previous, experts predict to see an increase in fatalities in 2015.
One of the main reasons to take a safe driving course is accident prevention, but there are additional reasons to take a class. Here are four advantages to taking a safe driving course:
Learn tips from qualified drivers
Driving is usually a skill that’s passed down from one generation to another. Through the years there’s no telling how many bad habits are picked up and taught to young drivers.
“Teenagers might take a class in school that teaches driving skills, but many times the most influential teacher is a parent,” says Bill Wade, the national program director for safe driving course, Tire Rack Street Survival.
“Most parents don’t have any formal training, they just show their kids what they do, and it’s not always right,” he said. By taking a class, drivers learn skills from qualified drivers.
Obtain safety skills that go beyond the basics
Most drivers learn the basics behind the wheel. Drivers learn how to obey traffic signs, how to operate the car and how to maneuver it on the road.
“Every driver needs to learn the basics, but a safe driving course can add to those entry-level skills,” Wade explains.
For example, it’s a good idea to spend time teaching drivers how to recover the car in bad situations.
“If drivers aren’t taught how to handle the car when it slides into a skid from icy road conditions, or what to do when the brakes lock up, they just react,” Wade says. “Every driver, no matter their age, should practice how to respond to these kinds of situations.”
Learn to remove or handle distractions
Every driver likes to think he or she is a safe driver, but with wireless phones ringing, navigation systems chirping instructions and radios taking music requests, it’s not hard to get distracted while driving.
“Distracted driving is usually associated with teens and their cell phones, but distractions come in many forms these days,” Wade says. “Texting teens aren’t the only problem.”
Every driver should learn how to remove or handle distractions. This is best taught through a safe driving course, Wade says.
Rules change over time
Some drivers were taught to think of the steering wheel like a clock, and keep their hands at 10 and 2 for safe driving. With the advances in air bags and changes in steering technology, the correct position is now 9 and 3.
Rules like this change over time, which is why taking a safe driving course is important. Students receive the most accurate, up-to-date information.
“I can’t tell you how many parents listen in during our class instruction and come up to me at the end of the course and say, ‘I had no idea that changed,’ or ‘I’ve been doing this wrong the whole time,’” Wade says. “It just goes to show that a safe driving course is valuable at any age.”
Another benefit of taking certain safe driving courses are potential insurance discounts. Find out how taking a class can save you money on car insurance with Nationwide’s Defensive Driving Discount.