What are the benefits of becoming an advanced driver or motor-cyclist? (As in the other pages, what follows is personal opinion and not necessarily the official view.)
The word Ďadvancedí is perhaps a bit misleading. Youíre not signing on for a higher-education course, with exams which may tax the brain too much! Nor are you starting a career in motor-sport.
Taking up advanced driving is simply setting out to improve something you are already good at ó you probably possess most of the necessary skills now. But itís the remaining ones that can make all the difference, both to your enjoyment of driving and to your safety while you are doing it.
These extra skills and habits make it easier to see hazards and the mistakes of other drivers in good time to take avoiding action. They help you control your car (or motor-cycle) with confidence and precision, and make fast progress on your journey whenever itís safe to do so. They significantly cut your chances of being involved in an accident ó and of being caught by a speed camera!
These skills will be passed on to you by a trained Ďobserverí (sometimes called an adviser). You will also be given advice on unsafe driving habits which have probably crept in since you took the L-test, especially if it was a long time ago (this alone could be worth the cost of the advanced-driving course). When you come to take the advanced test and pass, you will feel a real sense of achievement. And even if you donít pass, you wonít have failed, because you can simply drive away and think about whether to try again another time. Old or young, female or male, everyone is a better driver for the experience.
The usual first step is to apply to the IAM (click here) for their ďSkill for LifeĒ package. When it arrives, you contact a local advanced driver group (click here to explore the list and view their websites) and join it as an associate member. The package includes memberships and everything you need to prepare for and take the test. Motor-cyclists mostly join groups that are separate from the ones for car-drivers. Other types of vehicle are sometimes catered for too.
Itís the local group that provides your observer, and he or she does the job without payment. There are some variations in the way that different groups arrange the course which might be worth checking on (and the arrangements may be different again within RoSPA, the other advanced-driving organization).
Instead of applying first, you could simply visit a nearby group to find out more. The Thames Valley Group (for car-drivers) meets just south of Maidenhead ó if this happens to be convenient for you, you will be warmly welcomed as a guest at any monthly meeting. Click here for more information.