Advanced driving lessons make your time on the road safer and more enjoyable

When you passed your driving test as a teen or young adult, you knew your licence gave you the freedom to drive and the independence you craved. But what about since then?

Do you ever wonder if your driving skills are as up to date as they could be? Advanced driver training is an option that could make you a better driver and help keep your insurance costs down as well.

What is an advanced driving course?

Advanced driving courses are designed to develop safer drivers who are more aware of their surroundings and driving conditions, and less likely to get involved in an accident.

They offer a practical assessment of your current driving skills and teach you how to improve in areas such as road positioning, extreme weather conditions and observation skills.

If you struggle to drive safely in busy traffic, or if you don’t have much practise driving in difficult conditions such as in fog or on icy roads, advanced driving tuition can give you a confidence boost and the skills to keep on driving.

What does an advanced driving course involve?

Different advanced driving schools offer various types of courses, but most of them will include several hours of practical driving alongside a trainer, and some will have an advanced driving test at the end where you’ll be awarded a certificate if you pass.

Starting an advanced driving course involves taking an honest look at your current skills and then working with an instructor to see how you can make improvements. Advanced driving courses cover the following areas:

  • Coping with different weather conditions such as fog, heavy rain, or dazzling sunshine
  • Driving in unfamiliar conditions – in the countryside if you’re a city dweller, or in heavy traffic city congestion if you’re used to country roads
  • Night driving – judging speed and distance at night and coping with headlight dazzle
  • Driving more efficiently by looking ahead and anticipating future events – this can mean less wear and tear on your car too

Does an advanced driving course reduce insurance premiums?

If your main objective when taking an advanced driving course is to reduce insurance costs, then you may need to think again. Although some insurers might take an advanced driving qualification into account when pricing your premium, many don’t – including Saga. You should check with your insurer in advance before taking a course.

But even if there isn’t a direct connection between passing an advanced driving course and a reduced insurance premium, becoming a safer driver does mean that you are less likely to be involved in an accident.

When it comes to renewing your insurance policy, the fewer claims you have made will affect the cost, along with other influencing factors such as your location, your driving record and the car you drive.

What types of advanced driving course are there?

Different courses cover different things. Here are some of the most popular ones in the UK:

Pass plus

The pass plus scheme is aimed at drivers who have just passed their driving test. The pass plus course covers a range of driving conditions and requirements designed to develop the skills you acquired when learning to drive.

It takes at least 6 hours of practice and is government-backed, with a certificate awarded on completion. Pass plus is no longer recognised by most insurers as a basis for a discount.

IAM Roadsmart

IAM RoadSmart is a registered charity with the aim to improve road safety by helping drivers and motorcyclists gain increased knowledge, skills and confidence on the road.

On the Advanced Driver Course you’re taken out by a trained driver to assess which areas of your driving need improving, and then you should expect to go out again for between 6 and 8 two-hour sessions to work on your skills.

You’ll practice skills including control, observation, timing, road positioning and dealing with unpredictable roads and drivers.

IAM Roadsmart also run a mature driver review, which is a relaxed 1-hour session where you receive expert guidance on how to keep on driving safely for years to come. A trusted second opinion on your driving can boost your confidence and keep your driving skills fresh.

RoSPA advanced driving

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has a mission to reduce accidental injury across the board by increasing skills and knowledge in many common areas of life.

RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders is a network of groups around the United Kingdom providing free driver training to improve your skills and prepare you to take the paid RoSPA advanced driving test.

The RoSPA advanced driving test is monitored by the Driving Standards Agency and examiners tend to be ex-police officers, making this a very comprehensive and challenging test.

Other courses are available from different national and local providers, like The AA who run advance driving lessons through their network of AA driving school instructors, so look carefully at what you want to achieve before deciding which one will suit you best.

How much does an advanced driving course cost?

Advanced driving course costs vary from different providers and may be higher or lower depending in which part of the country you are taking the training.

  • Pass Plus - is booked through an approved driving instructor (ADI) and costs are based on where you live, your instructor and how much time it takes. Some local councils offer a discount on the scheme.
  • IAM Roadsmart - advanced driver courses start from £149, and initial assessments from £49.
  • RoSPA advanced driving - tests and assessments cost from around £50 each.
  • AA Qualified driver - lessons start from £25 per hour.

When you’re considering taking an advanced driving course to lower insurance, you may not see the direct relationship between an advanced driving qualification and a reduction in insurance premium.

But driving more safely and with enhanced awareness can only help to make you a better driver and less likely to be involved in accidents that might lead to you making a claim. And that in turn should affect your premium positively when it comes to renewal.