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The Purpose of Advanced Driving Courses

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 13 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Advanced Driving Courses were designed in the 1950s when the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) became aware that one of the major contributing factors in most road traffic accidents was that the driver either wasn't skilled enough to cope with the situation, or had simply made a fatal mistake.

This led the IAM to believe that the way to improve road and driver safety was to introduce an 'Advanced Driving Test, which they did in 1956 with a strong emphasis on continuous learning, rather than cramming at a particular time - as most new drivers do when they are taking their initial 'on-the-road' driving test.

The IAMs Advanced Driving Test utilised and expanded upon the advanced driving standards that are employed by the Metropolitan Police, allowing the techniques learned by Police Officers to be passed on to the general public - promoting a safer and more skillful driving experience.

So What's in the Advanced Driving Test?

The Advanced Driving Test typically takes around an hour and half to complete and will be carried out by an Advanced Test Examiner, who will have a history of working with UK police forces and who will hold a Police Advanced Driving Certificate.

The driver will be taken through around 40 miles of driving, and will cover a wide and varied set of conditions which may include motorway and dual carriageway driving and both rural and urban routes. During this time on the road the driver will be expected to adjust their driving style to the type of road they are travelling on.

During the 90 minutes there will be advanced hazard recognition, observation tests, opportunities to show understanding of optimum road positioning and understanding of the speed limit, all of which will have been covered in the materials provided in the weeks before taking the test.

The driver will be expected to drive well at the legal limit, understand stopping distances and employ them when appropriate. Safe driving at high speed will also be under scrutiny and the examiner will expect the driver to be able to deal efficiently and calmly with any difficult hazards that present themselves during the test. The examiner will be watching the driver throughout the test and watching them to see how they deal with all the situations that arise - making sure they can cope with them all. Most importantly, the examiner will want to see that they understand the relationship between their vehicle and the road - a candidate should always be travelling at the appropriate speed, in the right gear, in the right lane or position on the road and should always be able to judge an appropriate stopping distance.

How is it Different to the Normal Driving Test?

Well, the original driving test is taken to prove that a driver understands the law surrounding driving and that a driver is competent enought to take a car onto the roads. It is also a legal requirement that people need to fulfill before they will be allowed on the road. However, it is a test that once completed, is not currently revisited in the UK - once you have your licence, you have it for the rest of your life, unless you break the law in some way that requires you to resit your test or results in the loss of your licence. The Advanced Driving Test takes that understanding further - it builds on the foundations created by passing the original test, but also focuses on continuous learning - understanding that as time passes bad habits creep in and graduallly get worse and worse. The advanced test aims to stop this from happening and keep drivers fully aware of both their driving ability and their responsibility to themselves as a motorist and other road users.

Do I get Cheaper Insurance After Passing the Advanced Driving Test?

There are a number of benefits to taking the Advanced Driving Test - obviously you should become a far better driver and reduce your chances of being involved in an accident considerably. Many insurance companies will recognise this and will offer you a reduced rate on your vehicle insurance once you have passed the test.

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