A fairly common claim is that young learner drivers should take defensive driving courses so that they know what to do if they lose control of their car. This comes with the implications it will reduce accidents.

Is there any evidence to back up these claims? Or will it encourage more bad driving amongst some groups of drivers?

Here is an article where the father of a woman who died in a crash makes such a claim.

I understand there are various forms of driver training available and most people who make these claims don't know the difference so any elaboration on this would be helpful for the answer.

  • 1
    I haven't found anything about defensive driving specifically. This meta study says in general: "Based on these studies, there is no convincing evidence that high school driver education reduces motor vehicle crash involvement rates for young drivers[..] In fact, by providing an opportunity for early licensure, there is evidence that these courses are associated with higher crash involvement rates for young drivers."
    – Laurel
    Apr 4, 2018 at 0:56
  • Yeah, there is the problem that, in many US states, young adults who take a driver's ed course qualify for a driver's license 6-12 months earlier than those who don't. This would render problematical any attempt at statistical analysis. Apr 4, 2018 at 21:51
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    Not in a position to answer definitively, but I think it would help to be very specific about what kinds of "defensive driving" you're asking about. I have seen packages of academic evidence that learning things like recovering from skids cannot compensate for the advantage conferred by a mindset that would prevent a skid in the first place. Both of these are kinds of defensive driving, so...
    – rob
    Apr 4, 2018 at 21:52
  • I cannot be specific about the form or timings of a defensive driving course because the claims are not specific. Any answer will need to elaborate Apr 4, 2018 at 22:59
  • I would guess that virtually all driver training syllabi would claim to include "defensive driving". Exactly what this means and how much of it there is would be highly variable. Apr 5, 2018 at 20:15


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