When you think of driving, it often elicits a sense of freedom. Getting out of the house, having your own car, being able to go out with your friends on the weekends. However, many new drivers don't consider the dangers and major responsibility that comes along with having a driver's license.
As a new Texas driver, a defensive driving course is a great way to help you prepare for the rigors of driving. The course will help you spot dangers and learn how to avoid them so you can help prevent on-road accidents.
Anticipate Danger: Know Your Defensive Driving Tips
When taking a state-approved defensive driving course in Texas, you'll learn how to spot a distracted driver. Signs might include a driver having their phone on their lap, looking down into their palms or possibly arguing with someone sitting in the car next to them.
In 2017, a total of 449 people were killed as a result of distracted driving. Although this is only a 2% decrease from the previous year, it is still an on-road danger every driver must be aware of and avoid whenever possible.
A state-approved distracted driver's education course will walk drivers through an eight-step process to help them spot the signs of a distracted driver. These include:
Learning the ABCs of safe driving
Putting down your phone
Avoiding eating behind the wheel
And other tactics to help drivers stay safe on the road
No matter what driving rules you need help with, or what aspects of on-road safety you need a refresher in, a defensive driving course is a great place for you to receive it.
Stay Alert and Aware
Other defensive driving tips you can learn in a course is how to spot the signs of a drunk driver. This can help prevent accidents, and ultimately, prevent deaths on the roadways. DUI deaths for 2019 in the state of Texas reached a total of 886 lives. While that’s lower than the number of DUI deaths in 2017 and 2018, all DUI deaths are preventable.
The impaired drivers in those fatal crashes were of all ages:
7.4% were under 21 years old
22.17% were between 21-25 years old
16.75% were between 26-30 years old
14.29% were between 31-35 years old
10.84% were between 36-40 years old
28.55% were over 40 years old
As a young driver, a defensive driving course can help prepare you for the dangers on the road, including impaired drivers. You'll learn how to safely veer away from swerving vehicles and call the police to help prevent on-road accidents if you feel a driver is a danger.
Save Money, Too
Sure, everyone wants to avoid accidents on the road. You want to be a safe driver, know how to avoid distracted drivers and promote safety in your state. But, taking a defensive driving course has other benefits, too!
The extra education and training can help you reduce your insurance rates. As a safer driver, insurers are willing to offer discounts because you are doing your part in creating safer roads for everyone else. You'll also learn the latest laws in the state of Texas, and it can serve as a preventive measure if you're on the cusp of losing your driver's license. If required by law, this course can help you keep your license and even avoid the points that come along with certain traffic infractions.
Become a Defensive Texas Driver
It sounds simple enough, and that's because it is. A defensive driver is a safer driver. You're alert, you know how to spot the signs of danger, and you know when and how to stay away from on-road dangers. Furthermore, defensive driving courses teach Texas drivers how to contact authorities and help prevent on-road accidents, without putting themselves in danger.
Transfer Your Drivers License From Out-of-State
If you already have an unexpired, valid drivers license in another state and are moving to Texas you’ll need to get a new license within 90 days of becoming a Texan. Here are the steps to take to transfer your out-of-state drivers license:
Drivers Over 18 Years Old
Use the REAL ID Application Checklist to figure out what documents you’ll need to bring to the drivers license office.
Apply for a new Texas drivers license in person before the end of the 90-day grace period. (Be prepared to surrender your current license.)
Fill out all of the required documents, pay the fees and take a picture for your Texas license. In a few weeks your drivers license will come in the mail. Until then you’ll have to use a temporary paper license.
If you are over 18 years old but only have a valid learners permit you won’t have to take the knowledge exam. However, you will need to complete the Impact Texas Drivers Course and complete the skills test to get a full drivers license. You’ll also need to complete a drivers ed course if you are under 25 years old.
Drivers Under 18 Years Old
Bring your license or learners permit and documentation to a local drivers license office.
You won’t have to take the knowledge exam, but you will have to surrender your current license.
If you have a full license you will need to take the skills exam to get a Texas replacement.
If you only have a learners permit you will need to take the Texas Impact Drivers Course and required drivers ed before you can move up to a full-fledge license.
If you switched to a Texas learners license the state law requires that you hold it for six months before you can get a full drivers license. The time that you held your previous learners permit won’t count.
Are you over 18 and still unlicensed? If you're a new driver that needs to take adult drivers ed in Texas or simply needs a refresher course to help prepare you for dangers on the road, an online course is a simple solution. Or if you got a ticket for a traffic infraction and are lucky enough to correct it with a defensive driving course, why not do it on your terms?
IDriveSafely is where over 80,000 drivers go each month to become safer, more aware Texas drivers. Join them and make the roads a little safer wherever you live!
*This article was updated on 10/27/2020