Advanced driving courses help people improve their road safety. Drivers who take an advanced driving course are taught to be more observant and better at anticipating changes. Some car insurers offer people who have taken an advanced driving course cheaper car insurance quotes.
Advanced driving programmes are crash courses in not crashing. They involve learning how to drive defensively with greater awareness of the road and other road users. But defensive driving does not mean driving slowly.
Advanced driving courses:
Teach you to drive with more confidence
Give you greater control of your vehicle: motorbike or motor car
Help you reduce your car’s wear and tear
Save money on petrol or diesel – more control equals better fuel efficiency
Progress your driving to a professional level
Give you a skill you can put on your CV
Advanced driving courses are aimed at both newly qualified drivers wanting to improve their driving skills as well as more experienced drivers.
They tend to cover:
In urban areas advanced drivers can improve how they navigate complex junctions, while countryside driving training will help drivers navigate blind bends, animals in the road, how to use safe passing places, overtaking on narrow roads, as well as dealing with slow vehicles, such as farm vehicles which tend to be wider.
Advanced motorcycling courses will also include training on hazard perception and risk awareness when overtaking or filtering through traffic.
Advanced driving courses teach drivers how to cope with heavy rain, snow, ice, fog and even dazzling sunshine as well as prevent and handle skidding and learning about the need for longer stopping distances in bad weather.
Advanced driving courses aimed at newer drivers – such as Pass Plus – include helping drivers take to the roads after dark; learning about the correct use of headlamps, adjusting to different light levels, getting used to being dazzled and judging speeds and distance.
More for newer drivers; advanced courses may include learning how to keep to a safe speed in different conditions, deal with motorway fatigue, handle a breakdown, use lanes correctly and follow signs.
Advanced driving will also teach drivers better control of the gears, resulting in improved control of the car which can also cut down on fuel costs.
Arthur - advanced driver (45, London)
“I took the advanced driving test. One of the things I remember the most was being told to find a suitable place to stop - I took it in London - I ended up driving for three miles to find somewhere. I passed my test.”
Advanced driving courses can:
Improve your driving skills and road safety
Help lower car insurance costs
Help lower fuel costs through more efficient driving.
The cost of an advanced driving course will depend on the driving course provider, and how long it takes. AM Road Smart costs from £150; Pass Plus can cost between £160 and £200 and RoSPA’s course costs from £240.
Some local councils offer discounts on advanced driving courses. If you have to use your car or motorcycle for work your employer may be able to pay the cost of an advanced driving course.
The most popular advanced driving courses include:
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also runs bronze, silver and gold advanced driving test, which is overseen by retired or serving police officers
The IAM RoadSmart course is based on the police’s roadcraft driving and control system. There are courses for cars drivers and motorcyclists.
Drivers are taught road positioning and how to negotiate and anticipate hazards while driving.
The course focuses on specific advanced driving skills including control, observation, timing, optimum road positioning, ability to deal with unpredictable roads and other road users’ behaviour.
Cost - the course is priced from £149
Time - it takes between three and six months to complete
Assessment - you’ll get verbal and written feedback
Testing - you have to pass an advanced driving test
Afterwards - you also get a year’s IAM membership.
Pass Plus is popular among younger and newer drivers. It helps drivers learn additional driving skills to those covered in their driving lessons and required to pass their driving test.
The course includes 6 hour-long lessons such as learning to drive on a motorway, in heavy traffic and on rural roads. There is no test to complete the Pass Plus Scheme.
It includes six modules – lasting an hour each
Drivers meet the required standards in all modules to pass
After passing a driver can apply for the DVSA for a Pass Plus certificate
This certificate can be used to get cheaper car insurance
The Pass Plus Scheme Prices can cost between £160 to £200
Some local authorities offer discounts Pass Plus course
You can also book Pass Plus courses through driving schools.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) runs an advanced driving test that lasts around 45 to 60 minutes. The RoSPA advanced test is taken with a RoSPA examiner, all of whom are serving or retired UK police officers.
Rospa’s advanced driving test includes regular re-tests, so you have to demonstrate you have maintained your safe driving record.
The RoSPA advanced driving test is monitored and approved by the DVSA.
The RoSPA advanced driving test is grade graded bronze, silver or gold – similar to other RoSPA-recognised awards.
A RoSPA gold is according to RoSPA is: “the highest civilian driving standard available and the holder will be a master of his or her art”.
The cost of the advanced driving test is from £62 while the four day course costs from £240.
If you ride a motorcycle taking an advanced rider course can help improve both safety and confidence.
IAM RoadSmart and RoSPA runs advanced rider courses. There is also the national BikeSafe workshop scheme run by the police.
BikeSafe workshops involve at least one observed ride with a police traffic motorcyclist or approved BikeSafe observer. The training and observed rides all take place in a single day.
BikeSafe workshops aim to cover:
Use of gears
The cost of the course to riders is £65. The actual cost is £250 but the scheme is subsidised by local authorities through Safer Road Partnerships.
The course can take between three and six months to complete and can be taken on your own bike with a local group close to you.
Local courses differ but all groups include trained volunteers who take you on a number of observed rides before you take the test. Contributions are voluntary but donations of £5-£10 are suggested.
Skills covered include:
How to choose the right position on the road
How to ride at the appropriate speed
Selecting the right gear
When it’s appropriate to accelerate
RoSPA’s advanced motorcycle training is a four-day course, leading to RoSPA’s Advanced Motorcycle test. The test is approved by the DVSA and lasts around 45 to 60 minutes. It is taken with a RoSPA Examiner, all of whom are serving or retired Police Officers in the UK.
Advanced driving courses, and tests are based upon the 'system of car control'. This is detailed in Roadcraft – The Police Driver Handbook.
According to both RoSPA and IAM it is unlikely anyone can become an advanced driver without a good knowledge of the current editions of both The Highway Code and Roadcraft.
"Advanced driving is the ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle safely, systematically and smoothly, using road and traffic conditions to progress unobtrusively with skill and responsibility. This skill requires a positive but courteous attitude and a high standard of driving competence based on concentration, effective all round observation, anticipation, and planning." Driving Standards Authority/Institute of Advanced Motoring RoSPA, 1997
Reduce the risk of having a crash: Advanced drivers and riders have been proven less likely to be involved in a road traffic incident, according to RoSPA
Improved fuel consumption: Advanced driving and riding techniques teach you the most cost effective way to drive, to keep fuel consumption to a minimum
Less wear and tear to your vehicle: By using the 'system of car or motorcycle control' techniques, your driving or riding will result in less wear and tear to your car or motorbike.
Cheaper insurance: Some insurers will offer a discount on car insurance.
It can refresh driving skills: There are other advanced driving courses you can take if you want to improve your driving ability. The AA also offers courses, from motorway lessons to refresher courses, which start from around £30 per hour.
Intensive driving courses, also called crash driving courses, are popular with learner drivers who don’t want to spend months, or years learning to drive.
Some intensive driving courses can help learner drivers pass their test in two weeks.
According to the DVSA the average learner needs 47 lessons to pass their practical driving test. Before you start your intensive driving course:
You must hold a provisional UK driving licence.
If you have your own car you will need car insurance
Have passed the theory part of the driving test.
You may have a training course local to you or you can choose to do a residential version where you stay away from home, usually for about a week. You take your test on the final day.
Some courses will split your training so it’s not done in one intensive block.
Driving instruction happens in same way as if you had booked one-to-one tuition with a qualified driving instructor. The difference is that it is more focused on the areas that the driver needs to improve.
If you choose the residential version you will probably start with a briefing explaining the rules of the road before meeting your driving instructor.
You can do it in one or two weeks, and expect to spend between 4 and 5 hours a day on the road.
If you have already taken a few lessons you might could opt for a two-day course with just 10 hours of training.
The driving school running the course should be able to offer you an assessment to see how many lessons, or what length of course you need.
When you book your course you will get a fast-tracked practical test at the end.
It’s not cheap, a week-long course can cost around £1,000, while a two-week course may be double that.
However, it could save you money in the long run. If the average person takes 47 lessons to learn to drive, then your driving lessons will cost at least £1,000 and remember you have to budget for the cost of theory and practical tests on top of that.
The amount of motoring experience you have under your belt will determine how expensive your car insurance is.
There are some things you can do that may reduce the cost of your car insurance:
Having a black box fitted
Lowering your mileage
Parking in a private driveway or garage
Considering a multi-car insurance policy
Choosing a car from a low insurance group
Having a black box fitted means your driver behaviour is monitored. It reports on how you accelerate, brake and negotiate sharp bends. The data is analysed, and if your scores are positive, your car insurance may be discounted over time.
If you drive fewer miles in a year this could result in a lower car insurance premium.
Parking in a private driveway or garage can also attract a discount. Car insurers may take into account where you park, depending where you live.
If your driveway is cluttered with cars, you may want to consider a multi-car insurance policy
Generally, the lower the value of the car and the cheaper it is to repair, the less car insurance you may have to pay.
If you’re taking an advanced driving course with the sole intentions of getting cheaper car insurance be warned, not all car insurance providers will offer one.
Over the long term taking an advanced driving course could help improve your driving; your skills, ability and awareness of the road.
This in turn means you may be more likely to build up a record of no claims resulting in much cheaper premiums over time.