Defensive Driving: In-Person vs. Online

A defensive driving course teaches students how to reduce risks and identify hazards while driving. People may choose to take a defensive driving course for many reasons. Some may wish to be more prepared behind the wheel, while some may try to get a discount on their auto insurance. Some people may need to take this course to fulfill a traffic court-ordered requirement or reduce points on their driving record.

Whatever the reason, defensive driving classes are widely available.

These courses used to only be held in-person, but students can now take these classes online. Here are a few differences between the two course offerings, as well as some factors to consider when choosing which one to take.

In-Person Defensive Driving Courses

In-person defensive driver classes are taught by licensed instructors who present the information through a lecture and slideshow. 

These classes can last for several hours, and you'll have to be in the classroom the whole time. After the class, you'll take a written test to see if you passed the course.

Because in-person classes need a physical location and in-person instructor, they tend to be more expensive (often by hundreds of dollars). But, being able to ask the instructor questions throughout the course may make the higher cost and time commitment worth it.

Online Defensive Driving Courses

In contrast, online courses use text, video, audio, graphics, and other media to make the material interesting and engaging.

Since you take these classes on your phone or computer, you can choose when and where you take the class. You can also get through the course material at your own pace.

These classes may or may not qualify for insurance discounts or court-ordered learning. You should always check a course's certification before purchasing to make sure you have the course you need.

Since there are plenty of online courses available, the course length can vary considerably. You can find online defensive driving classes from as little as one hour to as long as an in-person class. Online courses are often much more affordable than traditional classes as well. Many options cost less than $100!

What Type of Defensive Driving Course Is Right for You?

Still not sure whether online or in-class defensive driving is right for you? There are several questions to ask yourself when deciding on which class to take, including:

  • What kind of learner am I? Do you thrive surrounded by others, with access to a person who can immediately answer any questions you may have? Or are you self-motivated to complete work on your own?

  • What’s available in my area? Some communities may not have easy access to in-person driving courses.

  • Does my insurance or judge accept online courses? You'll need to first confirm if you have to take a class in person, or if there’s an online option available.

  • What do I have time for? Do you have a wide-open calendar, or do you need something more flexible to fit into your busy schedule?

  • What can I afford? In-person courses are usually much more expensive than online classes, which is something to consider if you’re on a budget.

Whether you choose an in-person or online course, brushing up on defensive driving techniques is a great way to ensure that you and your loved ones are prepared for hazards on the road. Consider taking one today!

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