Traffic school might not be something that you look forward to, but in some instances, it’s a necessity. Perhaps you’re opting to take a driver safety course to reduce your car insurance rates. A car accident or driver’s license suspension might require you to attend traffic school. Or, maybe you’re hoping to reduce the cost of that traffic ticket by completing a driver safety course.
Whatever your reason for attending traffic school, one question exists: Should I take traffic school online or in a classroom? Choosing the right traffic school is important. The school you select dictates how well you absorb the information, how much you enjoy — or dread — the course, and whether you will receive proper credit for completing the course. The first step in deciding which type of traffic school is right for you is understanding your options.
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Classroom-Based Traffic School
Your traffic school requirement can be fulfilled by attending a course at a local school. Many state departments of transportation create and implement driver improvement courses, which you can take at a variety of locations throughout the state. The details of these classroom-based options vary, of course, based on your state. Courses will typically take a few hours and cover a range of topics depending on the specific course. You might be able to sign up for a basic driver improvement course, or you can choose a course more tailored to your needs or requirement. Courses in defensive driving, for example, might be available.
Online Traffic School
Online traffic school is available exclusively through the web for several providers. These courses are designed with web users in mind, allowing you to interactively learn driving safety tips and techniques while clicking through a web-based course. Internet access and a computer are the only real requirements for these courses. Some courses might be timed and include tests at the end to ensure you are learning the concepts. Others may simply require you to click through the course and complete activities within the allotted time frame.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Assessing both the advantages and disadvantages of classroom-based and online traffic school will help you identify the right school for you. Classroom-based school offers some advantages that might suit your learning style. First, you can complete the course in one sitting — dedicating just a few hours of your time will fulfill your requirement and remove this obligation from your to-do list. Because the course takes place in a traditional classroom environment, your attention will be focused on the course content. You will be free of distractions — Internet access, smartphones, televisions, text messages — because you will be entirely focused on your teacher. Additionally, the classroom-based courses are instructor-led, meaning you can simply absorb the information without having to run the course yourself.
Classroom-based courses do present some disadvantages as well. The course schedule is dictated by the traffic school, making it less flexible with your schedule. The course has to be taken in one sitting, which might seem long and frustrating for some students. Finally, some students simply might find these courses to be dull and lacking the audiovisual elements that online courses offer.
Online courses, such as those available at I Drive Safely, also present both advantages and disadvantages. Online courses can be conveniently taken from the comfort of your own home, an advantage that will work well with your busy schedule. You can take the courses in segments, pausing them when you need a break and starting them up again when you’re refreshed and ready for more driver safety instruction. Online courses incorporate a range of media to keep you engaged in the lesson; courses will use such tools as text-based instruction, animated videos, and text read-along to ensure you stay focused.
Some online traffic schools, like Aceable, have revolutionized the way e-learning works and have integrated interactive elements such as games and VR into their programs. Some even have official mobile apps that let you finish traffic school on your smartphone. Now, you don’t even need a laptop – you get access to defensive driving courses right at your fingertips.
Finally, you can even find online schools that offer this otherwise dry content in a new and fun way. Comedy Traffic School by Improv offers a hilarious twist on traditional traffic school.
Another lesser-known advantage of choosing an online traffic school is its benefits to the environment. You may not recognize it, but by taking a web-based defensive driving course, you reduce your carbon footprint by not driving to a school and staying home instead. Also, when you attend an in-person traffic school, you’ll most likely need a couple of textbooks and hundreds of printouts for your lessons. With an online school, indirectly, you contribute to the environment by going paperless. All your study materials will be available online, and you will be able to access them 24/7 without needing to print them.
Despite its convenience, online traffic school isn’t for everyone. If you have trouble staying focused, the self-led concept of online traffic school might mean that you never sit down and complete the course. The self-paced style doesn’t work well for individuals who prefer a teacher-led style of learning. Additionally, online traffic school, naturally, requires a computer and Internet access, so individuals without readily available access to the web might prefer taking a classroom-based course.
Now that you understand the difference between classroom and online traffic school, you can decide which style is best for you. Several key elements can help you make your decision:
Time: Check your local classroom-based traffic school schedules to see if there’s a class time that fits into your schedule. If one doesn’t, a web-based course might be your best bet.
Convenience: Confirm the location of the classroom. If you will have to spend time and gas money getting there, an online course might be preferable. On the other hand, a class that is adjacent to your home or work can be an optimally convenient way to take a driver safety course.
Approved courses: Find out what type of courses your state or insurance company requires you to complete. While most accept online schools, you want to confirm that the school you select — whether it’s a brick-and-mortar school or a web-based one — is approved by your locality or insurance provider.
Learning style: Think about how you best learn, and let your unique preferences guide you to the right traffic school. You might excel in a traditional classroom environment and enjoy teacher-led instruction. Or, you might prefer to learn independently and at your own pace, which makes an online school the right fit.
Cost: If budget is one of your main concerns, you’re probably better off with online traffic school courses as they are much more affordable than in-person classes. With traditional in-classroom traffic schools, you don’t only pay for course fees, but you also have to spend on transportation and other allowances if you are spending a couple of hours a day outside your home. With online schools, essentially, you are only paying for the course and other services. However, when choosing a traffic school based on cost, always consider your learning style. You don’t want a course just because it is cheap; you want it to be worthwhile.
Evaluating these factors and researching both school types will help you determine which method of instruction is appropriate for you. This prep work will guide you to a traffic school that provides a course that you can complete successfully, which can benefit you both on the road and off for the long term.