How to Take a Driver Improvement Course in Alaska
Local drivers can benefit from taking an Alaska defensive driving course for many reasons. In general, these courses aim to teach residents better driving habits in order to make the road a safer place. While enrolled in traffic school, students study state road rules, evasive maneuvers and how to handle difficult situations behind the wheel. Other benefits of enrollment often include auto insurance discounts. Most importantly, drivers can take certain defensive courses to remove demerit points from their driving records.
In order to enroll in a course to reduce license points, drivers must make sure to select a DMV-approved course. Several different types of traffic courses are available to choose from. In fact, drivers even have the option to take a defensive driving course online in AK, which is often a more convenient option. At the end of the course, a certificate of completion is delivered to the DMV to complete the point reduction process. This and other benefits make taking a defensive course highly beneficial for all drivers, regardless of their driving history.
Who can attend traffic school in Alaska?
AK defensive driving classes are open to all drivers within the state. License demerit points or a ticket are not required to enroll. In fact, residents are encouraged to enroll in these courses in order learn how to become better and safer drivers. However, there are certain rules to keep in mind when it comes to enrolling in one of these courses for the purpose of reducing these demerit points or similar reasons. These rules include the following:
- Drivers cannot take a course to reduce points more than once every 12 months.
- The course provider must be approved by the DMV.
- Drivers who accrue a certain number of demerit points while holding a learner’s permit are required to complete one of these courses in order to regain eligibility for a provisional license.
Types of Defensive Driving Courses in Alaska
When choosing an AK driver improvement course to enroll in, it is important to pay attention to the course descriptions. This is because classes offered in this state that serve the same function often go by a few different names, depending on the program providing them. In fact, many course providers offer more than one class for students to choose from. The following list outlines the different types of course generally offered, though the names and purposes may vary.
- Point reduction: This type of driving safety course is accepted by the DMV to reduce some of the demerit points you have on your driving record.
- Defensive driving: This course focuses on teaching safer driving techniques and evasive maneuvers. It is sometimes accepted as a point reduction course as well.
- Driver improvement: This is similar to the defensive driving course, though it may also be used as a point reduction course. Improvement courses may focus more on relearning proper driving techniques and the rules of the road.
One example of a provider that offers different classes like this is iDriveSafely. This defensive driving course online offers two courses, known as the point reduction and court-referral courses. While the curriculum between them is similar, they serve different purposes in the eyes of the DMV. To ensure that you complete the right course, research the class you want thoroughly before you enroll.
Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Alaska
Taking an AK online traffic school is one of the most convenient options available for drivers. Since there are only a few approved course locations in each county, it can be difficult to find one nearby. For this reason, the DMV authorizes certain third parties to provide these courses online. For example, iDriveSafely offers two separate online classes for residents, including a court-referred course and a point reduction course. By taking a class online rather than in a classroom, students gain several benefits, such as the ability to:
- Work from anywhere and on any device.
- Choose a time and day to work that fits their schedules.
- Start and stop the course as often as needed.
- Retake chapter exams as many times as needed.
Students who enroll in defensive driving online not only save time, but they also save money. For instance, taking a class from the comfort of home means drivers spend less on gas. Online courses also cost less, because there is no need to pay for an instructor, materials or a facility to host the class. Overall, online programs offer one of the easiest and fastest ways for residents to complete defensive driver training.
How to Enroll in an Alaska Defensive Driving School
In order to enroll, you must choose from the DMV approved traffic school list. The DMV authorizes several third party companies to offer courses for point reduction and similar purposes. Likewise, if you want to gain benefits like auto insurance discounts, make sure to choose a provider that your insurer accepts. Once you choose an approved program, enrollment is usually completed with the following steps:
- Contact the chosen provider.
- Select the course that fulfills your needs.
- Choose a class time or date, if applicable.
- Register and pay the registration fee.
Keep in mind that if you enroll in a defensive driving class online, you can skip some of these steps. For example, enrollment in iDriveSafely’s course is simple and fast. Once you choose which course you want, all you need to do is pay the registration fee. There is no need to contact the provider or choose a specific class time, because you complete your coursework from anywhere, at any time.
As previously stated, some programs refer to the same courses differently, or provide different benefits. The term “defensive driving course” in AK can mean many things. To ensure that you receive the benefits you want from the program, make sure the course you choose is approved for your needs. For example, if you are taking a course to reduce your points, make sure that the program offers this type of class and enroll accordingly.
Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Alaska
There are many advantages to enrollment in Alaska DMV traffic school. Most importantly, through these courses you are able to build up your knowledge and skills to become a better driver. However, there are a few more tangible benefits that you can gain from one of these courses as well. While the courts in this state do not allow you to dismiss tickets or prevent point accumulation on your license, these benefits do include the ability to:
- Remove two points from your driving record.
- Avoid rate increases on your auto insurance.
- Lower your monthly insurance premium.
- Comply with a court order.
Remove Points From Your Driving Record
When you accumulate too many points on your driving record, you face suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Fortunately, the DMV allows you to complete a point reduction class in order to avoid this penalty. Once per year, you are permitted to take a course to remove two points from your record. Driving classes to remove points from your record are available online, like iDriveSafely’s point reduction course, as well as in-classroom programs. Keep in mind that you cannot take a course for this purpose more than once every 12 months.
Avoid Increases on Your Auto Insurance Premiums
Insurance companies often increase your monthly premiums right after an accident. However, some insurers give members an opportunity to avoid this when they complete a defensive course. Eligibility and the type of driver improvement program members need to enroll in to access this benefit varies by company. Online programs like iDriveSafely are often accepted, though some companies may require a specific course. Therefore, it is important for drivers to contact their insurers before enrolling.
Obtain a Car Insurance Discount
Enrolling in a defensive course can also double as an insurance reduction course in AK and earn you further discounts on your insurance rates. Some auto insurers offer a 10 percent driver safety course insurance discount to customers who enroll. Eligibility and exact discount amounts vary by company. As such, make sure to contact your insurer to find out if you qualify.
Fulfill a Court Order
By law, new drivers who accrue more than five points in 12 months or more than nine points in 24 months on their learner’s permit are not eligible to apply for a provisional license. These drivers are often required by the courts to complete an AK driver improvement course in order to regain their eligibility.
Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills
One of the most important benefits you gain from a driver improvement school is enhanced driving skills. Whether you need to reduce your points or your insurance rate, it is always beneficial to work on becoming a safer driver. This will protect not only you, but also other drivers on the road. It also helps you reduce your likelihood of receiving a ticket or causing an accident in the future, which can save you money in the long run.
Alaska Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details
The curriculum administered by your AK traffic school largely depends on the type of course you enroll in. Most ticket dismissal and point reduction classes are around eight hours and can be completed in one full classroom session. If you choose to take DMV traffic school online, you can complete the coursework in as many sessions as needed. Regardless of how or where you choose to enroll, the coursework generally covers the same topics. Many programs follow the curriculums designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the American Automobile Association (AAA). The typical course provides instruction in areas such as:
- State driving laws and rules of the road.
- Ways to communicate effectively with other drivers.
- The dangers of driving while impaired.
- Safer techniques for driving and evasive maneuvers.
- Tips for driving in severe weather conditions.
Alaska Defensive Driving Certificates
Your instructor is responsible for issuing a defensive driving certificate at the end of your course. This document verifies that you completed all the coursework and passed the final exam. Once you finish a course, most programs will notify the DMV on your behalf to initiate your point reduction. However, it is still important to keep your certificate of completion for your records. In the event that your instructor does not inform the DMV of your course completion, you can then provide this proof yourself by submitting the original certificate. You also need this document if you want to lower your auto insurance rate. To access this benefit, you must submit the certificate to your insurance company.
Alaska Traffic School vs. Drivers Education
A DMV defensive driving course of any kind is very different from general drivers education courses. While both cover driving practices and the rules of the road, the purpose behind each course differs greatly. For example, drivers ed courses are designed to help new drivers develop their first driving skills and pass the initial licensing exams. For this reason, these courses are generally longer and more intensive. Instructors provide students with the foundation they need to head out on the road for the first time through both in-classroom and behind-the-wheel training.
On the other hand, DMV traffic school and defensive courses are meant to build upon this foundation. Students learn new skills to help them become better drivers and handle different situations on the road, including harsh weather and accidents. Defensive driving courses do not focus as much on the basics of driving the way drivers education does. Additionally, drivers education does not allow students to enroll in a course to dismiss a traffic ticket or reduce license points. With this in mind, drivers can greatly benefit from enrolling in both types of course at some point in their lives.
Alaska Defensive Driving Course Fees
There are several fees associated with in-person DMV defensive driving courses, including the cost of materials, the facility and payment for the instructor. On top of that, course costs tend to vary slightly in price, depending on the program you attend and the type of class you enroll in. Overall, you can expect to pay around $70 for enrollment in a classroom course.
Taking defensive driving school online in AK generally cost less, since they do not require a formal instructor or a classroom. For example, iDriveSafely has a flat fee for both of its courses, which covers enrollment and all necessary materials. You can also choose to purchase an audio component or shipping for your certificate for an additional small fee.