Ticket School > Blog > Online Driving Courses > Defensive Driving … What Is It?
Young girl in a black protective mask from a virus driving a car

When someone tells you that you need to take a defensive driving online course to learn how to drive defensively, you may be wondering what this means. In general, defensive driving is using good driving habits to help you anticipate what other drivers may do and react in a calm and collected manner.

What Defensive Driving Is Not …

There are several driving habits that each of can develop from spending countless hours behind the wheel. These habits do not always constitute defensive driving. In many cases, they are bad habits we have picked up that can be difficult to get rid of, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Weaving In and Out of Traffic
  • Not Using Turn Signals
  • Tailgating
  • Using Obscene Gestures
  • Road Rage
  • Eating While Driving
  • Texting While Driving
  • Grooming While Driving

Fortunately, if you want to get rid of these bad habits, you can start by being more mindful about them and completing a state approved driver safety course online is a great way to do that.

What It Means to Be a Defensive Driver

Defensive driving is really about practicing good driving habits. You take the time to check your mirrors, adjust the seat, and put your seatbelt on before starting the car. When changing lanes or turning, you use your turn signals with sufficient notice to other drivers.

When driving in traffic, you allow at least a 2-second following distance between you and the car in front of you. When changing lanes, you check your blind spot first and signal you are changing lanes before leaving your lane and moving into the next one.

Additionally, as you practice defensive driving, you learn how to be prepared for the actions of other drivers and to anticipate the actions of other drivers that could potentially result in a crash. Ideally, you want to treat all other drivers as offensive drivers. Driving defensively helps train you to assume the worst from other drivers so you are ready to respond to their unsafe driving choices.

For example, imagine that you are coming up to a four way stop where you are going to be turning right.  However, you notice that another car is approaching the intersection travelling along the road you plan to turn on to.  You have two choices:

  1. You could turn anyway and assume that the other car is going to stop as required at the intersection.
  2. You could assume the worst and wait to turn until it is clear that the other driver is stopping as required.

It seems simple, but unfortunately the majority of drivers would just assume the other driver will stop.  Obviously, a defensive driver would choose the second choice. Driving defensive is not about being scared of the other drivers but making careful calculations to make sure you are prepared regardless of what may occur.  This is an important skill that you will learn in a defensive driving course online.

Is There More to Defensive Driving than Driving Safely?

Happy young male driver behind the wheel

With everyone in a rush to get here or there, being a defensive driver means being able to slow down, take notice of what is around you, and share the road with other vehicles, semi-trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. It means being aware that not everyone else is a defensive driver, so you need to stay alert and always be prepared to react.

Defensive driving also refers to an online course one can take for ticket dismissal, to keep points off their license, or for an insurance discount.

To learn more about and enroll in our Texas-approved defensive driving course or other state-approved driver safety courses online, please feel free to sign up at Ticket School today! You may also contact us at (800) 558-9887 if you have further questions or need assistance.