Defensive Driving in Plano

by John Fabel | Last Updated: February 9, 2021

With nearly 300,000 residents potentially on the road at any given time, driving in Plano can be challenging. In Texas’s ninth-largest city, driving can sometimes get as spicy as the salsa at Torchy’s Tacos.

Plano can be a dangerous place to drive, both physically and fiscally. Plano averages 5,500 collisions per year, with roughly a third of them resulting in injuries or fatalities.

Since most accidents are caused by a failure to control speed, law enforcement does its best to slow this trend by writing tickets. In the US, 100,000 speeding tickets are written every day, and, no doubt, Plano drivers get their fair share. At an average cost of $150 a ticket, the nation’s speeders pay out nearly $5.5 billion dollars in fines, and each of them faces a 22-25% increase in their car insurance premiums for the next three years.

All of these costs could be drastically reduced with better driving by all. Plano drivers can bring these numbers down by taking defensive driving (also known in Texas as a “driver safety course”). Tips and reminders of how to navigate the roads safely are the main topics of any driving course. The started purpose of a TDLR-approved course is to teach drivers to “change their perceptions, attitudes, and skills to make Texas roads and highways a safer place to drive.” Other benefits of taking a defensive driving course include ticket dismissal and insurance savings, all at a reasonable cost.

The Easiest Way to Take Defensive Driving in Plano? Do it Online

Since there’s no way of knowing if the world will ever return to a “pre-Covid normal,” the easiest (and safest) way to complete a course would be to take one online. The ability to work at your own pace from your own place makes it the most convenient way, too. Any of the schools listed below offer courses approved for ticket dismissal and/or insurance discount. And you can choose any of them with confidence that they are fully certified by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

Plano’s Best TDLR-Approved Online Defensive Driving Providers



TDLR Ref #



Rated #1!

Approved Course Defensive Driving











I Drive Safely




 A Sense of Humor Driving




Tired of Being Cooped Up?

If you’ve seen enough of the inside of your house lately, you can still get out and take defensive driving in a classroom. Be ready to mask up and work around some limited schedules, but these guys are still “doing the deal.”

Depending on the school, classroom defensive driving has always been fun; being in the presence of humans again might even make it more so. Now I’m not gonna lie; classroom defensive driving in Plano is hard to find anymore. Here are some schools where you can still make that happen.

Cy-Fair Driving School

cy-fair driving school plano

Houston-based Cy-fair Driving School offers 6-hour, TDLR-approved defensive driving courses multiple times each week with two Dallas locations. These courses are good for ticket dismissal and/or insurance discount. Reservations required.

Visit for location information and call (832) 647-3526 (main) or (832) 326-5628 (cell) to claim your spot.

In the bygone B.C. (before Covid) days, schools like Comedy GuysFunny Bone, and My Improv were famous for their defensive driving classes that were more or less dinner and a show. Hopefully, they’ll be back soon.

If You Have Received a Ticket in Plano

Defensive driving courses can be used to improve driving skills and earn insurance discounts, but the benefit most people look for is ticket dismissal. 

The first step to taking defensive driving is receiving permission to do so. The Plano process for asking “pretty please” requires filling out an Application for Driving Safety which can be handled in person or online.

Dismissal for most citations is possible unless the ticket was written:

  • For speeding 25 miles per hour (or more) over the posted limit
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • In a posted construction zone while workers are present
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Fleeing police

Ticket dismissal is also not a possibility if you are the holder of a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) or if you have dismissed a ticket with defensive driving in the past 12 months.

Driving in Plano

Nestled just north of Dallas, Plano is home to an excellent highway system, but the locals all seem to refer to them by name instead of number. This can cause a little confusion for the uninitiated, so let’s break down a few.

If you are driving on:

  • Interstate 20 west of 635, you’re on the Ronald Reagan Freeway. (To make things more confusing, there’s one of these in Houston, too.)
  • Interstate 30 (east of Interstate 35W), you’re on the East Freeway 
  • Interstate 30 (west of Interstate 35W), you’re on the West Freeway 
  • Interstate 30 (from west of downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth), you’re on theTom Landry Freeway
  • Interstate 35E (south of downtown) and Interstate 30 (east of downtown), you’re onR.L. Thornton 
  • Interstate  635, you’re on LBJ
  • Texas 161, you’re on the President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT).Why no traffic reporter has referred to this roadway as “the Pig Butt” yet is still beyond me.

And don’t even get me started on the S.M. Wright Freeway or the Julius Schwepps or the Marvin D. Love or the John Carpenter. Who were all these guys anyway?!?

More Cool Stuff About Plano

Besides its wide variety of peculiarly named freeways, Texas’ ninth-largest city has a lot to offer. What might you discover if you headed there?

  • Get Your Color OnNamed by Parents Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Trips to Take Before Your Kid Turns 10,” the Crayola Experience at The Shops at Willow Bend is an amazing place where you’ll find 22 hands-on attractions in a 60,000 square foot space.
  • Eat, Shop, and Play OutsideExplore Legacy West, a $3.2 billion, 255-acre open-air development with many unique restaurants, shops, and sights for you to enjoy.
  • Come to Legacy West HungryLocated at Legacy West is one of the nation’s largest and most unique food venues, Legacy Food Hall. In its three-stories and 55,000-square-feet, you’ll find 22 chef-driven food stalls, a brewery, and a live music and entertainment venue.
  • You Can Swim Across Texas Here—Plano is home to the epic, 168,000-gallon saltwater Texas Pool. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, Texas Pool features a diving board, two water slides, and a shallow “South Texas” wading area for small children and parents.
  • Get Out There—Plano has a wide variety of outdoor attractions where you can:
    •  Go Ape on a canopy tour of Oak Point Park that features five sections with rope ladders and 39 exciting crossings spread over 800 acres.
    • When you’re at Oak Creek Park, be sure to remember your kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the water or your bike, boots, or running shoes if you’d prefer to take it on land.
    • Take a stroll on the Boardwalk. A great place to stroll, dine, and unwind, the Boardwalk has beautiful patio dining spots, a live entertainment stage, and outside games like Connect Four and Corn-Hole.
    • Experience 19th century Plano at Heritage Farmstead. The farm is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a perennial field trip destination for fourth graders in the Plano school district.

No Matter Your Plans

Whatever you decide to see or do in Plano, be careful driving to get there. Without question, the driving environment here can pose some real traffic challenges. Consider taking a defensive driving course to make sure you get to your “whatever” safely.

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.