Answered—All Your Defensive Driving FAQ’s

by John Fabel | Last Updated: 2024-01-24

We love to drive! Our team includes a defensive driving instructor, a defensive driving course writer and several folks who have taken defensive driving (for one reason or another!).

We believe the #1 contributor to driving safety isn’t road condition or automotive engineering, but the knowledge and skills of the person behind the wheel. Check out our ideas for keeping yourself and the ones you love safe.

Whether this is your first ticket or it’s been a minute since your last one, here’s a quick reference guide to all things defensive driving, brought to you by our crack team of experts.

Whaddya Need to Know About Defensive Driving?

Here at, we do defensive driving every day, but we also realize that most people don’t, and those people need answers. So, as a public service, we have grabbed all the most asked defensive driving questions from the interwebs and have compiled all the answers here for your convenience.

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How Does Defensive Driving Work In Texas?

In Texas, defensive driving (a.k.a “a driver safety class”) can be used to dismiss minor traffic violations. A completed defensive driving course can also be used to earn discounts on certain auto insurance, with or without having received a citation.

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How Much Does Defensive Driving Cost In Texas?

By law, Texas has set the minimum price of an approved defensive driving course to $25.00 dollars. This price applies whether the course is completed in person or online. That being said, there are situations where it may be worth it to spend a little more.

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Is There a Money-Saving Defensive Driving Groupon?

Defensive driving providers have used Groupon offers as part of their marketing campaigns for years. These Groupons appear to offer deep discounts to purchasers. However, as with any discount offer, the actual value may be hard to determine, especially in certain states.

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Can Defensive Driving Dismiss Your Ticket?

Almost every state allows drivers to dismiss tickets for minor traffic violations by completing their approved version of a driver training course. Whether your state calls it defensive driving, driver safety, or traffic school, dismissing a ticket with this method will save you money now and in the future.

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Can You Take Defensive Driving More Than Once in Texas?

The number of times (and how often) a driver can take defensive driving varies from state to state. For example, Texas allows drivers to take defensive driving once every twelve months for ticket dismissal and once every three years for insurance discount.

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Do You Take Texas Defensive Driving Before Your Court Date?

The answer to this question depends on what you mean by “court date.” If you are referring to the date given to you by the court to complete your course then, by all means, get it done. On the other hand, if you are referring to the “date to appear” stated on your ticket, you should by NO means get ahead of yourself. Enrolling in a defensive driving course prior to receiving permission from the court will likely result in your losing the privilege to dismiss your ticket with defensive driving.

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What is Covered in a Texas Defensive Driving Course?

In a defensive driving course, you will be educated on traffic rules, laws, signage, and potential threats to both your individual safety and the safety of others sharing the road with you. Much of this information you may already know, but rules do change over time. Our familiarity with the road can also lead to bad driving habits that we may not be aware of, so a little reminder couldn’t hurt!

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How Do I Sign Up for Defensive Driving?

Step one to taking a driver safety course is to sign up for one. First, you’ll need to decide how you would like to take the course—online or in-person. Finding classrooms that offer defensive driving can be tricky these days, especially if you live in a more rural area. On the other hand, a quick online search for “defensive driving” will return an overwhelming number of results. Enrolling in any of these courses will be similar to signing up for anything else online, like Netflix or an Amazon account.

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Can You Do Defensive Driving In One Day?

If you need to get defensive driving done in a hurry, it’s easy to do. Thanks to online courses, you can get signed up and get through it in a matter of hours. Some states will even enable you to get your completion certificate electronically. Sign up now, and you can be through by dinnertime!

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Can You Pause a Defensive Driving Course?

If you take defensive driving online, you can pause your course anytime. You can avoid blocking out several hours to get the job done. While you’ll still have to complete your state’s time requirements in the virtual world, you are free to jump back into the real world as often and for as long as you’d like.

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Can Defensive Driving be Done Online in Texas?

Since the early 90s, Texas has allowed the convenience of completing a TDLR-approved defensive driving course online. Depending on your preferences, these courses come with a variety of options, including text, audio read-along, or 100% video.

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Can You Skip Defensive Driving Videos?

You can skip the videos in a defensive driving course, but be careful. Many state-approved courses have safeguards in place (like video questions) that make skipping videos a poor idea, resulting in you spending more, not less, time completing your course.

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Can You Do Defensive Driving On Your Phone?

With an internet-enabled phone, it is easy to complete a defensive driving course, but you’ll want to pick carefully. Some defensive driving courses—like many websites—aren’t especially mobile-friendly. Save yourself some frustration. Check about the mobile-friendliness of a course before you choose it. Taking defensive driving can be frustrating enough, that much more so if you have to complete it fighting your phone the whole way.

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Is There Defensive Driving With No Final Exam?

How student evaluation is handled varies from state to state. For example, Texas allows courses to use a comprehensive final exam or individual unit quizzes. Any course provider will have information on their site about which method they use.

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What Is a Defensive Driving Affidavit?

There are actually two different documents that can be referred to as defensive driving “affidavits.” One is a court requirement to begin a driver safety course. The second is one required by defensive driving providers as an additional form of student verification. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be required to submit one or the other, both, or neither.

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Why Do I Need a Driving Record for Defensive Driving?

Most states have laws limiting how often or how many times a driver can dismiss tickets with defensive driving. A driver’s record will reflect if (or when) have used a driver safety course for this purpose. By asking for a driving record, the court can be assured that the driver is in compliance with the law.

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Can Defensive Driving Lower Insurance?

Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders for completing a defensive driving course. Depending on the carrier, these discounts can save policyholders anywhere from 2-10% on their premiums. Each state has different rules regarding these programs but. on average, these discounts remain in effect for 1-3 years and are eligible for renewal indefinitely.

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John Fabel

I have a long and checkered history with defensive driving. I took my first "court invited" course at age 15 and realized immediately that there had to be a better way. Since that first experience, I have gone on to teach defensive driving classroom courses and to author four internet courses in 2 states. After nearly 25 years in the industry, I can help you find a course that will be the best fit for you.