Roads can be dangerous, and while the UK has far better safety standards than some other countries, it can still only take one slip up to impact your life forever. This is why it can be daunting to hit the tarmac even after you’ve passed your driving test, but don’t panic – help is out there to calm your nerves and reassure you that you are indeed ready to tackle the big, wide world by road.
Advanced driving courses are designed to elevate your driving skills above the level you’ll have to hit in order to qualify for your pink card licence, allowing you to face your fear of everything from motorways to driving in the dark. Here’s everything you need to know in order to decide if you should take an advanced driving course.
What Is Involved In An Advanced Driving Course?
There are a number of Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) approved courses that offer you the chance to focus on a number of things. Some of them may prioritise mastering the skills that you’ve already learned, perhaps useful if you scraped through your test with multiple minor faults.
Other courses, however, will improve your confidence and abilities, giving you experience with driving on motorways or down narrow country lanes where high speeds can mix with blind bends. Further available courses even help you practise driving at night or in harsh weather conditions, two things that can really throw off an inexperienced driver if they don’t expect to be driving in them.
There’s even courses that offer refresher classes for those who may have been out of the driver’s seat for a while and don’t feel comfortable getting straight back out there on their own. There’s even charity-run courses designed to help older drivers adjust to the fast pace of modern roads, bringing them up to speed with the young whippersnappers darting about around them.
Some of the courses which feature these challenges are offered by the DVSA themselves, the AA and the RoSPA & IAM Roadsmart charities.
Does An Advanced Driving Course Reduce Insurance Premiums?
We can’t promise anything, but many insurance companies will consider advanced driving course certification as a sign that you are more trustworthy behind the wheel and less likely to have an accident. However, there’s no guarantee that this will be the case. Car insurance is a highly-personalised product and while one driver might have a sparkling record, another who has completed the exact same advanced driving course could have several accidents attached to their name. Therefore, the course might not have the same impact for the accident-prone car owner in the eyes of the insurance provider.
Then, even if you are offered a discount, there’s the size of it to consider. Advanced driving courses aren’t cheap (as we’ll talk about further down the page) so there’s actually a good chance that the cost of the course will be more than any discount you’d be offered.
What Are Advanced Driving Skills?
The above challenges that each advanced driving course will allow you to experience are situations that require careful, skillful driving to navigate. After all, the first time you merge with fast-moving traffic to join the left-hand lane of a motorway is nerve-racking for everyone, especially if you’re unlucky enough to be heading down the slip road alongside an articulated lorry in your mom’s old Toyota Yaris!
But, when looking into these particular manoeuvres, there is a whole host of individual skills on display that are considered ‘advanced driving skills’. At their core, these are what advanced driving courses are teaching you.
- Total vehicle control in a smooth manner
- Road positioning in every situation
- Safe, appropriate speed control
- To be unfazed by distractions
- Hazard anticipation, perception and reaction
- Adequate observation of the road
- To be courteous but decisive
You will have covered them in your regular lessons, but with these elements of driving mastered, the rest should come naturally.
How Much Does An Advanced Driving Course Cost?
With a number of different courses available to you, each with their own schedule and curriculum, it should come as no surprise that they’re priced differently, too. These courses can be quite expensive – though as you’ll be aware, regular driving lessons aren’t cheap either – so if you want to hone your skills, be prepared to cough up some cash.
- IAM Roadsmart Advanced Driver – £175
- Pass Plus – up to £200 (varies depending on location, discounts are available)
- RoSPA Advanced Driver – free tutoring, £77 for the test
- AA – Various Advanced Driver Courses – varies depending on advanced driving instructor charges
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