To operate a motor vehicle on the roads, you need to get a driver’s license. Once you have a driver’s license, you don’t usually need to be retested to get it again. The problem is that, while driving may begin to feel like second nature, often you start to forget some of the rules of the road. You may:

  • Forget what some road signs mean.
  • Perform dangerous driving maneuvers unwittingly.
  • Neglect to perform safety checks, like shoulder checking.
  • Forget the right-of way rules.

Of course, these and other driving problems can get you into trouble with the law. You can get:

If you get into one of these situations, you may be required to take a defensive driving course before you can get your license back, or you may need to complete it within a certain timeframe so you can keep your license. Of course, if you recognize there are driving rules you need to brush up on before you get into trouble, you can take the defensive driving course while it is still optional - preventing expensive tickets, fines, vehicle repairs, and the inconvenience of a license suspension.

Defensive driving courses are usually offered in a classroom setting with an instructor. Your schedule may not allow for such a course, or you may want to fit the course into your life with a little more anonymity than a classroom. Luckily, defensive driving courses are also offered online for many states. Here’s how to find an online defensive driving course for you.

  • Tip: Taking a defensive driving course can also get you a discount on your car insurance premiums. Check with your car insurance provider to determine if that applies to your situation.

Method 1 of 2: Check your state DMV for online defensive driving courses

If you’ve been instructed to take a defensive driving course as part of a traffic ticket or judgment, you’ll likely receive instructions on how to complete the course in your area. If you didn’t receive specific instructions, or if you want to take a defensive driving course as a refresher, you can check your state DMV to see if they offer a course online.

Step 1: Perform a search in your web browser for your state’s official DMV website. Search by entering “department of motor vehicles in” and your state name.

  • Typically, the official website will have your state’s initials in the web address.

  • For example, if you are from New York, look for a web address that contains “.ny.” in it.

  • Official websites for your state will usually end in “.gov” as well, indicating a government website.

  • For example: New York’s DMV website is “”.

Step 2: Search the DMV website for defensive driving courses. These may be listed under alternate names for the program, so don’t get discouraged if nothing comes up for “defensive driving.”

  • Defensive driving courses are also known as point reduction programs or insurance reduction programs in some states.

  • Use a search bar on the website to find related items or browse through the pages to find the appropriate information.

Step 3: Find an approved course for your state. For example, in New York, the Points and Insurance Reduction Program page has a heading to find an approved online defensive driving course provider.

View the results and choose which course offering you’d like to complete.

  • Note: Not all states list defensive driving courses on their website. If you can’t find information on their website, call your DMV office to find out if there is a course offered that is not listed online.

Method 2 of 2: Find a reputable defensive driving course provider online

If you haven’t been mandated to complete a specific course, or if you are choosing to complete a defensive driving course on your own, you can find an online defensive driving course aside from your state’s DMV website.

Step 1: Find online listings for traffic safety courses. Perform a web search for “online defensive driving course” to get a list of results.

Choose a search result based on its relevance and determine if the source is reputable. Sources such as the American Safety Council are authoritative and are trustworthy in their results.

  • Note: You may have to check through several listings to find one that suits your needs.

Step 2: Choose the appropriate course from the listings displayed in your search. The American Safety Council website has a compiled list of highly-regarded online defensive driving courses.

Courses include:

Below, we’ll walk through the process on Safe Motorist, which allows you to choose a course that is tailored to your state.

Step 3: Select your state from the dropdown menu on the homepage. Sites such as Safe Motorist allow you to choose courses that are directly applicable to your state.

Step 4: Select your reason for taking the course from the dropdown menu. Then, click “Start Here.”

Step 5: Complete the enrollment information on the following page. Enter your personal information to enroll in the online defensive driving course.

You’ll then need to provide payment for the course online to access the course. The enrollment process is slightly different for each course, and the cost of the defensive driving course differs from site to site.

While most people who take a defensive driving course do so because it is court-ordered, or to reduce the ticket price or points assessed for their driving violation, defensive driving courses are an excellent way to brush up on your driving skills. Some sites recommend taking a defensive driving course every two to three years to keep your driving skills sharp. Now that you know how to find the courses online, it’s a great idea to enroll - even if you consider yourself a safe driver.

This article originally appeared on as How to Find an Online Defensive Driving Course and was authored by Jason Unrau.

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