If you do any amount of Texas driving, you’ve probably seen plenty of aggressive or careless drivers and have had the thought “Where is a cop when you need one?” After all, traffic laws are established for everyone’s safety and drivers who blatantly violate them should be punished or, at the very least, be prevented from driving that way in the future. But what if the guy who gets pulled over is you?
Maybe George Carlin Said It Best
In a monologue about driving, George Carlin once made the observation “Isn’t it funny how anyone who drives faster than you is a maniac whi,le all slower drivers are morons?” Alone in our cars is easy to use ourselves as the standard for comparison to other drivers. The reason we are in our cars is that we have places to be and should road conditions and the rest of the drivers we are sharing the roadway with be in service to our agenda? How can we possibly be deserving of a ticket?
While it might not seem like it, most drivers aren’t arrogant, self-centered jerks determined to get down the road at the expense of others. The majority actually do “play nicely with others.” But even these drivers can make mistakes in a moment of distraction or carelessness. If this happens in view of a police officer, a ticket will likely result.
It’s True, Even Good Drivers Get Tickets
Getting a traffic ticket is not the end of the world. It happens to the best of us. However, not taking care of that ticket properly can, shall we say, not and with optimal results. Tickets are expensive, not just in the short term but years down the road as well.
A moving violation creates two financial impacts. The first, obviously, is the cost of the initial fine. The second impact is harder to define and may be even greater. Once a driver is convicted of a moving violation, that conviction becomes part of their driving record, usually for a minimum of three years. A driver’s record is used to calculate auto insurance premiums, so a ticket won’t just cost you today at the courthouse but will cost you every time you pay your insurance man for the next three years.
Ways to Minimize the Sting
Fortunately, in Texas, there are steps that can be taken to keep a ticket from appearing on a driving record. Texas allows for ticket dismissal with the completion of what the courts call a “driver safety course.” Every other Texan calls this course “defensive driving.” What it’s called is not important, the fact that this course keeps your record clean is.
If you have received a ticket, your first order of business should be to determine if this is a possibility for you. Contact the court and ask about their ticket dismissal procedures. If you get the go ahead, go ahead and get it done. Follow the order of the court carefully. The reduced fine may not seem like a lot of savings, but the insurance savings over the next three years will likely add up to big bucks.
The Quickest Way to Complete a Defensive Driving Course
Mom used to always say that the quickest way to get my room clean was to get started. It’s no different for defensive driving.
Texas offers many options for completing defensive driving. You can take a class in person or complete the course online and there are many traffic schools fighting for your attention on the internet. It’s important not to get bogged down and lose time trying to decide which course is best. What a course covers, how long it is and how much it costs are all things determined by state law. Don’t click from site to site lured by promises like “lowest price” or “fastest course” because the law says it can’t take less than six hours or cost less than $25.
If you’d like to go the classroom route, we’ve put together some resources for Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. If you would rather complete your defensive driving adventure in the comfort of your own home, check out these guys.