May 8, 2010

The Right Time To Take A Driver Improvement Course And Its Benefits

Driver improvement courses have long been the bane of drivers pulled over by a set of strategically flashing lights. Courts use such courses as a deterrent or a punishment of sorts for infrequent offenders, in addition to fines and fees and the promise that offenses will be erased from a driver’s auto insurance record upon successful completion. When given the option of attending a course with its intended benefits, drivers often opt in, yet resent attending and are inattentive in classes as a result. In this mindset, it is all too easy to overlook the very real and significant benefits driver improvement courses have to offer.

For starters, cars are part of the technological revolution, and functionality has changed over the years. For older drivers in particular, the upgrade to a newer vehicle can come with its own set of challenges as driver and car get acquainted. Managing the bells and whistles of newer models, which may include GPS on-board systems, anti-lock brakes, automatic seatbelts, use of air bags, satellite radio, warning bells for unfastened seatbelts, iPod and mobile device syncing, and keyless entry may be distracting or confusing to a driver not used to such luxuries. Distraction at any level also equals danger when operating a motor vehicle on the roadway. Roads also change over time or with a change in location, and road conditions can change based on weather variances. Taking a course to brush up on driving in the snow or in heavy rains or flood conditions can be life-saving to a driver not used to such challenges.

As cars and roadways change, drivers also age, and any certified driver safety curriculum will include suggestions for how to adjust when vision, hearing, or reflex times change. It is also helpful from time to time to have a refresher on the best way to respond to poor driver habits of others sharing the roadways. Reminders about minimum following levels, signaling courtesy, right of way, dealing with cyclists and motorcyclists, drunk drivers, and what to do in the event of an accident, can stand a driver in good stead. Additionally, for drivers who are required to take certain medications at certain times of day, a driver course will offer suggestions about how to minimize risks and ways to evaluate whether to drive when taking prescription medications.

With the advent of video and online courses, the right time to take a driver course is any time that schedules permit and at least once annually. Most insurance carriers will offer one discount per annum for policy holders who successfully complete a driver safety course. Retaking the course annually provides dual benefits in auto insurance premium reduction and important safety reminders.