It’s a well proven piece of common sense: defensive driving DOES help reduce your risk of a car accident. Another plus? It can decrease your car insurance rates or eliminate points after a ticket which would cause your rates to rise.

Defensive driving is behind the prevention of many accidents every day. Quite simply, defensive driving goes beyond following basic traffic laws and procedures. It involves a driver’s use of strategies that identify potential hazards before the hazard occurs. For example, if you’re driving defensively, you’re scanning not just the roadways for traffic entering from side roads or driveways, but looking at the driver one lane over who is glancing down at the phone in his hand. You’ll assume that his blind spot is going to be larger than the one just off his fender. So you adjust your driving to this potential hazard. You slow down and put as much space between his car and yours to prevent a sideswipe because texting while driving is so incredibly dangerous.

Fine, you say. We all want to prevent accidents. But how does one take advantage of the rate decreases and point elimination? It will take a little more proven effort than just driving more carefully. There are defensive driving courses in every state. Here is a link to defensive driving courses in Bellingham and Whatcom County.

Online defensive driving courses can also help decrease insurance rates. National Safety Council devotes a page to info on courses. If you are looking for an insurance discount, the NSC cautions:

Requirements for insurance discounts vary by state. Before you enroll you must verify with your insurance company that they will accept the DDC Online Certificate of Completion issued by the National Safety Council. Family members will need to purchase separate accounts to receive certificates of their own.

What is covered in a typical defensive driving course?

Most of these programs will cover the following topics:

  • how detrimental auto accidents are to ones financial, physical and emotional health
  • how stress affects a driver’s ability to drive safely
  • how alcohol and drugs affect a driver
  • how to recognize the dynamics and events that lead to a crash
  • how to use infant car seats, seat belts and other safety features to reduce the risk of a fatality or serious injury in the event of a crash
  • car accident prevention techniques

Defensive driving requires attention and common sense. No one can drive defensively while distracted or drunk or high. In 2013, more than 32,000 people died on U.S. roads, roughly 90 fatalities a day, according to the CDC, and 2015 brought the biggest percent increase in US traffic deaths in 50 years. Despite new legislation aiming to curtail the problem of distracted driving, technology is proving to be a worthy adversary in improving road safety.

Even if you are not interested or able to take a defensive driving course, if you simply pay attention to the task of driving, and never drive drunk or distracted, you can greatly reduce your risk of a crash. If you are in an accident and need help, call me at 360-303-0601. I can help you recover financially while you focus on your health.

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