Traffic school and Driver’s Ed may seem like synonymous terms. They both convey the idea that you’re learning more about what it means to drive. But they have distinct differences that it’s helpful for you to understand if you live in California. Learn more about how each one works, and what you can expect from each kind of formal instruction. Let’s start with the similarities first before we address the differences.
Why They’re Alike
Both courses are trying to teach you how to be a safe driver. They’ll go over some of the finer points of what it really means to be a responsible car owner too. This means that at least for the time you take the class, you’ll know exactly how much tire tread you’re supposed to have to get out on the road. You’ll also get tips that go far beyond the suggestion to keep your hands at 10 and 2. Much of driving must do with your mental state. We don’t just mean that you’re not supposed to be drinking and driving or texting and driving, we mean keeping a calm head when on the road. There are a lot of stimuli flying at you from any given direction. Between traffic, crazy drivers, construction signs, and pedestrians, there’s a lot to keep track of. It doesn’t help to panic, but it does help to pick up smart habits that will keep you calm during chaos.
Why They’re Different
CA Driver’s Ed is meant for first-time drivers, while CA traffic school is made for drivers who may just need a refresher course on their driving skills. Traffic school doesn’t require people to take a driver skills course on the road, but Driver’s Ed will. At times, Driver’s Ed may be substituted for traffic school if there are no other alternatives available, but these instances seem rare. Each curriculum is generally adjusted as necessary. Traffic school doesn’t just focus on what it means to handle traffic, it goes over the rules of the roads, and how seasoned drivers can sharpen up their skills. Most people tend to let driving become rote after a while, which is the first step toward a major accident. Driver’s Ed starts from square one and caters its curriculums to those who are just beginning to know what it means to be behind the wheel.
The other major differences between them lie in why people take them. Formal driver’s education isn’t required once you get past a certain age, though you’ll still need to complete and pass the written and skills tests. People usually take formal CA Driver’s Ed because they want to drive as soon as they turn 15.5. They may also take it because their parents want them to, or because they feel they need it become better drivers. People usually take traffic school because they received a ticket, and they don’t want the points on their license or perhaps they were ordered by the courts to take classes. They may take it because they want to get a discount on their insurance too. Turns out people who focus their attention on safety tend to get into fewer accidents. Who knew? And finally, not to get all serious on you, but some people legitimately take traffic school because they know they need to do something to change their behavior on the road. No matter what prompts you to learn more about driving, you’re always making the right decision.