Time to practice defensive driving


BUCKHANNON — Defensive driving is the practice of observing safe driving strategies to help motorists identify and respond to hazards in a predictable manner. Defensive driving are skills that go beyond the instruction of basic traffic laws. SafeMotorist.com states, “The benefits of taking a defensive driving class vary with each state, but often include a reduction of points on your driver’s license following a ticket and the assurance that insurance rates will not increase. In some states, taking a defensive driving course can mean a reduction of up to 10% in your insurance rates for a period of three to five years.”

Defensive driving courses vary by each state and educate you based on your state’s specific traffic laws. Some states even offer online courses instead of a classroom setting. No matter which class you pursue, they tend to cover the same information including traffic crashes, psychological factors, human factors, such as DUI, the dynamics of a crash, safety equipment, crash prevention techniques, and then your state specific laws.

“Approximately 41,000 deaths occur annually as a result of traffic collisions, with an additional 3,236,000 injuries. About 38% of all fatal car crashes are alcohol related with another 30% attributed to speeding,” according to SafeMotorist.com. One of the goals of defensive driving is to reduce the risk of accidents by providing students with good judgement while driving. Psychological factors, such as stress, fatigue, emotional distress, and road rage, are also addressed. Learning to establish and maintain a positive attitude while driving increases your focus behind the wheel. Driving under the influence has devastating impact on all involved so defensive driving classes provide information about the role that drugs and alcohol have on our roadways. Crashes can be prevented. Defensive driving courses illustrate the elements involved in a crash and how they can be limited or avoided. Also, proper use of safety equipment, such as seat belts, child seats, and head rests, help to reduce risk of injury and or death in the unfortunate event of a crash.

Additionally, SafeMotorist.com says, “The key to any good defensive driving strategy is knowing how to avoid traffic crashed and recognize potential hazards before it’s too late.” Some on the crash prevention techniques, include scanning the roadway and adapting to surroundings, using the two-second rule for following distances, knowing your own vehicle’s stopping distance, being aware of reaction distance, watching for environmental hazards and vehicle emergencies. Also sharing the road, allowing passing and necessary clear distance, following right of way and awareness of speed adjustments and railroad crossings.

West Virginia does not accept online courses for point reduction and will not be considered by the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (WVDMV). There are currently three courses available and accepted by WVDMV and are as follows West Virginia Driver Training which can be contacted at (304) 424-6307 and they have locations offered statewide. Bluefield AAA and their contact number is (276​) 988-6800​ located in Bluefield, WV. B-Safe, Inc. located in Clarksburg, WV and can be reached at (304) 641-9045. For further information on these classes and the WVDMV Point System call 1 (800) 642-9066 or go online to transportation.wv.gov.

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