Online traffic school, or online drivers education, can help prepare new drivers for their license or ensure they are proficient with traffic laws. Because students can take the courses at home, it is often more convenient than going to a classroom.
Online traffic school pros
Some states require that new drivers take a traffic course before they can even apply for a license. Depending on the state where you live, online traffic school can be an alternative to going to a classroom. In Colorado, for example, if you are 16 or younger, some training - either online or in a classroom - is required before you can get a license. Other states - like Michigan - do not have state-approved online traffic schools.
Online learning might be more beneficial than going to a classroom, especially if you want to take classes at home during a time that is more convenient to you. Classrooms have a more regimented schedule, and usually have specific dates and times you need to attend. Whether your state has approved an online school or not, traffic school may help to prepare minors for their driver's examination. Successfully completing a course may also reduce a driver's insurance rates. In many states it's even possible to have a traffic ticket dismissed by successfully completing an online traffic school class.
Online traffic school cons
Even if minors take online traffic school, this cannot replace personalized one-on-one instruction behind the wheel of a car, truck or SUV. While an online course can teach students the rules of the road, minors still need to talk with experienced drivers to discuss questions and to go over the many real-life situations they will face while behind the wheel. Additionally, not all online schools have the same caliber of instruction, so it's important to weigh your options carefully.
What to look for
Before selecting an online traffic school, go to your state's DMV website to see which schools your state has approved. If your state doesn't require that you take an online course, you can check with your insurance company to see which schools it recognizes for insurance discounts.
In addition to comparing fees, read several reviews to ensure that the school you select is a good value. Many schools offer money-back guarantees and 24/7 student support services. Be wary of scam websites that appear to be cheap but don't actually teach drivers what they need to know. State approval alone is not necessarily a guarantee that a school will give students good value. Some states have been criticized for not properly vetting schools before adding them to an approval list. Looking for a Better Business Bureau rating on the school's website can help you avoid a poor school.