Driver Improvement Course

Our Driver Improvement Class is an 8-hour program that teaches defensive driving principals in different scenarios on the road. Classes like this can be taken optionally for DMV safe driving points (+5), but most of the time, people come because they are ordered by the court or the DMV. We get that this probably isn’t how most people would like to spend their weekend, but we try to make it as fun and engaging as possible and offer mid-session breaks. We also make the course easy. How easy? We’ve been teaching it since 2011, have had thousands of students register, and our driving school has a 100% pass rate.

We have a course scheduled roughly every two weeks (and have made exceptions as well), so if you have a hard deadline for when you have to have the course completed, it’s likely we can help! Choose us with confidence, knowing that we hold a 4.9 star rating, from 100s of our students, and that we strive to offer the best driver improvement course in Northern Virginia.

What should I bring?
  • A government issued photo id.
  • If you are required by the court to attend a driver improvement clinic and the court has determined that you are to be awarded safe driving points, present the court document to the instructor.

Why take a Driver Improvement Course?

Most people take a Driver Improvement Course because it's required by the court or the DMV. You can also take the class on a volunteer basis to earn 5 Safe Driving Points .

Reason Description Do you get Safe Driving Points ?
Court Required The court has ordered you to complete a Driver Improvement Course. Only if you provide a court document stating that the driver is to be awarded safe driving points to the clinic.
DMV Required The DMV has required you to complete a Driver Improvement Course. Only if you are 18 years of age or older.
Insurance The insurance company has offered you a discount for completion of a Driver Improvement Course. No.
Volunteer You decide to take the course voluntarily to get Safe Driving Points. Yes.

The official DMV website lists some other reasons for taking a driver improvement course .

What will you learn in a Driver Improvement Course?

1. Overcoming Risk while Driving

It is both naive and unreasonable to think motorists will never make mistakes when they drive; it is also unreasonable to think risk can be totally eliminated while driving. Risk is defined as "the chance of injury, damage or loss". Because all drivers are human, it is inevitable that they will make mistakes. The goal of this defensive driving course is to aid in altering driver attitudes and skills to the point that safety is enhanced and lives, time, and money are saved. Motorists have a responsibility to minimize the quantity and severity of their mistakes to avoid personal injury and/or damage to property.

2. Visual Necessity

To some degree, all senses, except taste are employed when driving. Most of the information motorists need to drive comes from seeing. Approximately 90 percent of what drivers do behind the steering wheel is seeing. To become skillful, motorists must train their eyes to gather information. Looking wide, deep and far ahead helps motorists recognize roadway and off roadway hazards that may affect their intended travel area. There is a need to clearly identify and timely respond to conditions. Not only is there a need to use eyes properly to gather information, but motorists must be seen clearly by others as well. Aiding others to clearly see you on the roadway enhances their awareness of your presence and actions thus helping them to control risk.

3. Moving Violations and Point Assessment

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, not unlike other states Departments of Motor Vehicles, has a point system. The point system is used to help assess the likelihood that a driver will be involved in some type of traffic mishap based upon driving behavior. There are two types of points. There are safe or positive driving points used to reward motorists for driving safely and responsibly. Then there are demerit or negative points, which penalize motorists for committing and being convicted of unsafe driving acts.

4. The Responsibility of the Driver

Traffic control devices direct and control the flow of traffic. It is the motorist's responsibility to use traffic control devices to assist in safe travels. Though traffic control devices direct and control the flow of traffic, they should not be completely relied upon in safely operating vehicles. Devices like people sometimes fail to communicate properly. Motorists most of the time communicate properly and other times they fail to do so. Each driver should accept responsibility in making the roadway as safe as a place to travel as possible regardless of what others do. To this extent there is a duty to as clearly as possible help others understand you, you understand others and communication devices.

5. Yield Not to Distractions and Aggressions

Who is the aggressive driver? There is no general profile of an aggressive driver. When a motorist is communicating with other highway users through anger and other signs of aggression, do not respond adversely to the person. This will only escalate an already dangerous situation. There is no textbook answer as to how individuals will respond when faced with adverse situations. Because there is no standard response, the best action is to attempt to diffuse the situation. Other people do not control your emotions. You determine how you will respond to any situation, circumstance, or condition and you are only responsible for how you respond.

In addition to Hazards and emotions, drivers have to contend with distractions to a point. Driver inattention is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes. Indeed, one in four motor vehicle crashes result from driver inattention. It is impossible to eliminate all driving distractions.

6. Distracted Driving

Any activity that removes the attention of the driver away from driving is a cause of distracted driving. Distracted driving crashes were the cause of 10% of fatal crashes, and 15% of injury crashes in 2015. The 3 main types of distracted driving are manual, visual, and cognitive. Any activity that removes your hands from the wheel is a form of manual distracted driving, removing your eyes from the road is a visual distraction, and letting your mind wander to other things besides the road is a cognitive distraction.

7. Controlling Speed and Space

Many factors affect speed control and speed is one of the major factors that determine vehicle control. All motorists are required to drive at speeds that are reasonable and proper. Motorists need to be aware of conditions, legal regulations and know their limitations in selecting travel speeds. Proper speed control limits the number of problems and is especially important for the novice driver. In addition to the law, speed determination is affected by a vehicle's braking requirements, traction conditions and the driver's level of visibility.

8. Managing the Unexpected

Motorists encounter numerous unexpected situations while driving such as: 1. Vehicle malfunctions Anything, 2. Impediments on the roadway, 3. Mistakes of other drivers, 4. Animals, pedestrians, inclement weather conditions, 5. Visibility problems

When confronted with these situations. a driver cannot take time to search through manuals or other reference sources for a solution or response. Most situations require an immediate response. Motorists must retrieve correct responses from their memory bank of safe driving techniques.

Drivers must be physically and mentally prepared to drive. Being a good driver is a combination of good driving skills, driving defensively, having a positive attitude and proper preparedness. Certainly, drivers need to be free of drugs and alcohol, well-rested and have a clear mind. Additionally, drivers should be cognizant of and prepared to obey all traffic laws. The driver and occupants must be properly seated and restrained in the vehicle. Hand placement on the steering wheel is important in achieving maximum control and response to routine and emergency situations. These become crucial in surviving and being able to respond to circumstances requiring immediate responses.

9. Vehicle and Occupant Readiness

Before embarking on any trip, the driver should check for hazards around the vehicle and determine if the vehicle is road ready. In addition, the driver needs to check to see that all passengers are properly secured before departure and if they are not, demand that they become restrained before putting the vehicle in motion. The driver has the legal responsibility to ensure that occupants less than age 16 are properly restrained.

10. Driving in Different Environments

Rural driving presents unique challenges. Rural driving, and particularly rural driving during nighttime hours, requires a driver to exercise sound judgment and utmost diligence. Due to the absence of lighting in rural areas and the importance of seeing when driving, a driver's vision should not be impaired in any way. A slight reduction in driving speeds at night is prudent to enhance highway safety.

Driving on the expressway requires proper vehicle control, being in the correct lane and traveling at legal and safe speeds. The correct travel lane for traffic on multi-lane roadways is primarily the right or center lane when traffic is not congested. To avoid weaving in and out of traffic during congested-rush-hour-traffic, the best lane for through traffic then is the center lane. Left lands should be used for momentary travel and passing maneuvers when traffic conditions are moderate.

City driving needs not to be unduly stressful or complex. Motorists should sharpen and widen their vision spans in urban areas. Wide vision spans will help motorists identify activity near parked vehicles, buses, cabs and corners of buildings. Drivers should look approximately 2 blocks ahead in the city. There are many intersections in city areas and more crashes occur at intersections than any other sector of a roadway. Being aware of telltale signs of potential hazards enables defensive motorists to avoid crashes or serious injuries by allowing adequate space to the sides and front of their vehicles.

11. Driving Under the Influence

Driving in an emotionally impaired state, Fatigued State, Combining Drugs and Driving, and Mixing Alcohol and Driving.

** Some of the content above was adapted from Highway Safety: A Joint Responsibility by DDAV

REGISTRATION   —    Driver Improvement Course

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