Have you ever made an illegal turn, forgotten to signal or sped past the speed limit? A traffic ticket in which you are convicted of a moving violation is often accompanied by points on your license. The worse the offense, the more points tacked onto your driver’s license. It might seem like no big deal and you might find yourself thinking, “Yeah, I have some points on my license, but they don’t do anything.” However, that sentiment is incorrect.

When you get points on your license, you may find yourself paying surcharges that are charged along with court fines and fees based on a large number of points. Even worse, in New Jersey, once 12 points are accumulated, the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) is authorized to suspend your license. It is highly likely that points will also affect your insurance rates. Many insurance companies regularly review your record and may therefore raise your premium.

There are a few ways to see how many points you may have. The first possible way is to check this list provided by the Motor Vehicle Commission of New Jersey (MVC), which outlines how many points different driving infractions are worth. Another possible way to see how many points you have is to request your driving record from the DMV. The third possible way is to call your insurance company. Because many insurance companies regularly check your driving record, they may be able to tell you how many points you have.

Insurance.com conducted an analysis of over 490,000 policy quotes in which they found that the average policyholder’s auto insurance premium can be increased by as much as 22% with a single ticket citing ‘reckless driving’.

But don’t worry; there is no need to lose sleep if you have points on your license! In fact, there are a few ways you can decrease your number of points!

1. Waiting it out. After a certain number of years (usually 3) points will be deducted from your driver’s license.

2. Going to traffic school. While the pain of sitting in a classroom for eight hours may seem like a lot to bear, it also means eliminating up to 2 points.

3. Another option is to take a defensive driving class. This will not only deduct points from your license, but it may also result in an insurance rate reduction. This course will teach you how to drive safer with accident-preventing techniques.

Regardless of whether or not you have points on your license, you should still call your insurance company to find out their policies and see how a defensive driving class could benefit you and your family.