Best Online Defensive Driving Courses

Learn how to stay safe on the road with new driving strategies

We publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.

Online defensive driving courses teach you essential skills to be safe on the road. Whether you’re looking to save on insurance, meet a court requirement, or just brush up on your driving skills, you’ll want to select the best online defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses may go under other names, including traffic school or driver improvement, but they all aim to help improve your safety behind the wheel.

Before picking a defensive driving course, first, check to make sure it’s approved or certified by your state or insurer if you are trying to meet a specific goal. It’s also important to look at the course’s length, topics covered, course reviews, and cost. Continue reading for this expert list of the best online defensive driving courses for a wide range of driver needs.

The Best Online Defensive Driving Courses for 2021

Best Overall : DriveSafe Online

DriveSafe Online

 DriveSafe Online

We like that DriveSafe Online offers a one-hour course for a reasonable price with options nationwide.

Pros
  • One-hour and longer course versions that satisfy requirements for traffic violations and insurance discounts

  • Work at your own pace with a web browser or mobile

  • Nationwide support

Cons
  • You are responsible for verifying that your municipality, county, state, or insurer will accept the course and certificate

DriveSafe Online is a top choice because it is reasonably priced and is available nearly anywhere in the United States. You can choose between the one-hour course or a longer version, typically four or six-hours long, depending on your insurer or state’s requirements.

Before you commit to the $24.95 price, you can try out a free demo. The course also comes with a full money-back guarantee. Based on reviews from past customers online, the service is outstanding overall. A few people mentioned technical difficulties, but DriveSafe Online earns excellent reviews in general.

You can go through the course at your own pace with your computer or mobile device web browser and start or stop at any time (outside of some states that require a timer). At the end of the course, you’ll get a completion certificate to take to your insurer or court officer. Or maybe you’d just like to hang it on your wall to show off your driving skills!

Best for Certificates : iDriveSafely

iDriveSafely

iDriveSafely

We picked iDriveSafely because it offers multiple course options that meet specific state defensive driving requirements and other courses for driver’s education, seniors, and insurance discounts, as well as multiple certificate delivery options.

Pros
  • State-approved courses related to defensive driving, drug or alcohol violations, and other driver needs

  • Multiple ways to access your certificate

  • Some courses are available starting at around $20

  • Positive reviews from past students

Cons
  • Some courses have higher pricing over $50

  • Fewer options for insurance discounts for non-seniors

iDriveSafely is the top choice for certificates because it offers multiple certificate delivery choices, making it easy for you to get your certificate when and where you need it. They offer free delivery through the U.S. mail, but if you need your certificate sooner, you can choose an affordable expedited delivery option. iDriveSafely also offers email delivery, immediate download, or delivery directly to the court in some states. 

If you’re looking to get a course completion certificate for defensive driving, traffic school, driver improvement, or driver’s ed, iDriveSafely likely has you covered with a state-specific course option. There are fewer state options available for insurance discounts for younger drivers, but seniors may find discounts through state-specific programs. 

iDriveSafely has extremely positive reviews overall, though some have complained about delays in receiving their certificates. There’s also a sneaky option to sign up for a roadside assistance plan at $5 per month, which has little to do with the course you’re taking.

But for the most part, courses are straightforward and help you reach your certificate needs. There’s a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can ask for a refund if you’re not happy. Plus, iDriveSafely updated to a new platform, which is a great sign that the company is working to improve and offer a positive customer experience.

Most Affordable Option : Aceable

Aceable

 Aceable

We picked Aceable because it offers courses with promotional rates as low as $19 and a course for senior drivers for $21, which are cheaper than most competitors we reviewed.

Pros
  • Courses start below $20 in some states

  • Public promo codes are shared on the website for discounted rates

Cons
  • Higher prices for some state courses

  • Fewer states supported

Aceable offers defensive driving and similar courses for drivers in California, Texas, Florida, and Indiana. It also has a senior insurance discount course. However, note that there are no defensive driving options available in other states. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the four states supported, rates are excellent.

The fee for defensive driving courses is $19 in California and Florida, $25 in Texas, and $40 in Indiana (as of March 2021). The AARP Smart Driver course for seniors costs $21. The lowest rates require signing up for Allstate Roadside Services, which is $5 per month after one month free. Be sure to cancel before the trial is up to avoid the recurring charge.

Aceable earns excellent reviews online, though several past reviewers were not happy about the roadside assistance subscription or technical issues. But in general, past customers are satisfied, and the price is tough to beat.

Best Customer Experience : Improv

Improv

 Improv

We chose Improv because it brings a fun and comedic spin to traffic schools, which are often far from thrilling.

Pros
  • Fun and engaging course from Hollywood writers and improv actors

  • Accepted by many DMVs and courts nationwide

  • Mobile version available for iOS devices

  • Receive your certificate in 30 minutes after completion

Cons
  • You are responsible for checking with your court, state, or insurer to ensure that the course will count for your needs

Improv sounds like a place you would learn the art of improv comedy, but it’s actually the improv comedians delivering the defensive driving course. Improv is a traffic school, defensive driving, and driver’s ed course provider covering the most populated states with one of the more attractive course options.

The courses from Improv work for court and ticket-related needs as well as insurance discounts. It generally earns excellent reviews from past customers on several review sites. Complaints are primarily focused on technical issues with the website.

Courses vary in price but are quite reasonable. For example, one course for California drivers was listed at $24.95, roughly on-par with competitors. But unlike more serious and dry driver’s ed courses, this one may leave you with a few laughs along the way.

Best for Seniors : AARP Driver Safety

AARP Driver Safety

 AARP Driver Safety

We picked AARP Driver Safety because it comes at a reasonable price from one of the most recognized names in safety and advocacy for aging Americans.

Pros
  • Course available for $21.95 for AARP members or $27.95 for non-members in most states

  • Driver safety course is widely accepted by auto insurers

  • Classroom version available for those who are not comfortable online

Cons
  • Less expensive senior driving courses are available from competitors

The AARP Driver Safety course is a good choice for anyone and a great choice for AARP members due to a discounted price. You can complete the course at your own pace over 60 days while refreshing your driving knowledge and hopefully earning a discount from your auto insurer.

Completing the course takes about eight hours, and repeat customers can access an abbreviated four-hour version. Certificates are sent by mail on successful completion. Because it’s from AARP, you can count on a senior-friendly experience.

Between the cost and the course content, there’s little to complain about. If you get the insurance discount, you are likely to save more than the course’s cost. The course costs $21.95 for AARP members and $27.95 for non-members in most states. Joining AARP costs $16 per year.

Best for Teens : AAA Driver Program

AAA

AAA

We picked AAA Driver Program as the best for teens because of its highly interactive, self-paced course and its additional parent session that allows parents to participate in their child’s learning.

Pros
  • Self-paced

  • Includes video, simulations, and interactive exercises

  • Optional virtual parent session

Cons
  • No certification upon completion

  • Takes at least 25 hours to complete

The AAA Driver Program made our list because it’s specifically designed as a supplemental course for teens to gain the basic foundational skills for safe driving. The AAA has implemented a highly interactive course design, filled with videos, exercises, simulations, and synchronous presentations to keep your teen focused on the information at hand.

Parents can learn more about the learning to drive process themselves with an optional virtual parenting session, so they’ll be better equipped to guide their teen through the sometimes stressful and nerve-wracking months of driving training. 

This course is only available as a supplemental learning tool, so your teen won’t be able to substitute this course for the typical driver’s ed requirements; however, with a cost of only $24.95 in most states, it may be worth a parent’s peace of mind knowing their teen is getting a quality, up-to-date curriculum focused on teaching them how to be safe on the road.

Final Verdict

There are many defensive driving courses to choose from, and most of these options should work well for your needs after a ticket or for those looking to save on insurance. If you'd like to depart from the more traditional learning experience like the one offered from DriveSafe, consider the comedic approach from Improv. However, whichever course you choose, you’re likely to meet your goals at a reasonable cost.

Compare Providers

Winner Wins For Unique Feature
DriveSafe Online Best Overall One-hour course option and longer courses available to meet certain state requirements
iDriveSafely Best for Certificates State-specific courses available in most areas
Aceable Most Affordable Option Starts at $19
Improv Best Customer Experience Taught by improv comedians
AARP Driver Safety Best for Seniors Built just for seniors
AAA Driver Program Best for Teens Built for teens with an additional parent session

FAQs

What Do Online Defensive Driving Courses Teach You?

Online defensive driving courses teach essential driving skills that keep you safe on the road. These courses aim to instruct drivers how to anticipate and prevent potential driving hazards. You'll learn about avoiding accidents, driving in inclement weather, managing technology in the car, psychological factors like road rage or driving fatigue, and other topics related to a motor vehicle’s safe and legal operation in your state.

How Much Do Online Defensive Driving Courses Cost?

Online defensive driving courses range from around $20 to about $100, depending on the course and provider. Differences in cost may depend on the length of the course, whether or not it comes with a certification, or simply because the course provider is a brand name. Some websites offer discounts and promotions for members or those who opt-in for partner deals.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Defensive Driving Course?

You will typically spend anywhere from about an hour to eight hours to complete an online defensive driving course among most of the courses we reviewed. Course length can depend on several factors such as the course provider, insurance discount requirements, or the state you live in. Some states have specific course-length requirements for certifications while others let you take an express course that’s an hour or less. 

Will Taking an Online Defensive Driving Course Lower My Insurance?

In some cases, taking a voluntary online defensive driving course will lower your monthly insurance premiums, typically somewhere between 5% and 20%. Oftentimes, these discounts are offered to teenagers, young adults, or seniors. To find out if you qualify for discounts, contact your insurer before taking a course. You may find that your insurer only takes certificates from a short list of course providers.

Do Courts Accept Online Defensive Driving Course Certificates?

Many courts accept online defensive driving course certificates as a way to reduce points on your driving record, dismiss a traffic ticket, or fulfill any other court-ordered obligations. Check with your court before starting, and make sure to choose a course that’s approved for use in your state, since driving laws and course requirements vary by state.

How We Chose the Best Online Defensive Driving Courses

To pick the best online defensive driving courses, we reviewed eight top defensive driving providers and whittled them down to a list of our favorite options. To pick winners in each category, we focused on providers that work in most states, offer competitive pricing, and earned high reviews from past customers for content and ease of use. Most importantly, these best online defensive driving courses are sure to help you learn best practices for staying safe on the road.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Trustpilot. "DriveSafe Online® Defensive Driving Courses." Accessed March 24, 2021.