Defensive driving as a concept has been around for decades. Some parents insist that teen drivers need to learn defensive driving before they get their licenses or the keys to the family car.
Certain criminal and traffic courts may even order people to take driving courses when they have caused crashes or displayed poor decision-making at the wheel. There are also many employers that may require defensive driving to reduce crash risk on the job, as car wreck wrecks are a leading cause of worker deaths and severe injuries.
Many people are very skeptical about the usefulness of additional driving courses when someone already has a license. Does defensive driving actually help?
Defensive driving can empower individuals
The point of defensive driving education is to teach people about the top causes of crash risk. Defensive driving courses typically identify the decisions that often lead to wrecks, including distraction at the wheel, excess speed and right-of-way violations.
By teaching motorists about what traffic behaviors are the most dangerous, defensive driving courses can help people make better decisions for themselves at the wheel. The course can also help someone understand how prevalent the risk generated by other motorists really is. Defensive driving is also about monitoring traffic more carefully and possibly pausing at a four-way stop to wait and see what the person across the intersection does after approaching.
Although defensive driving cannot eliminate someone’s crash risk, it absolutely can teach them about their top safety risks and Inspire them to make safer choices on the road.
Implementation is more important than education
The unfortunate truth about defensive driving courses is that they often don’t work as they should not because the curriculum has innate flaws but rather because the people attending the courses don’t take the lessons seriously. Defensive driving as a concept will do very little to reduce someone’s crash risk. It is only the successful implementation of defensive driving techniques that may help someone improve their safety in traffic.
If people won’t avoid known driving safety risks and treat others like a threat in traffic, then the education that they receive will have very little impact on their overall safety. Learning more about what causes crashes can help people avoid motor vehicle collisions, but only if they change their habits to reflect their changing awareness.