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Advanced driver courses

A guide to UK advanced driving courses

Sara Newell
Written by  Sara Newell
5 min read
Updated: 05 Mar 2024

You can become a safer driver and, in some cases, reduce your car insurance premiums by taking advanced driving lessons. Find out more with our short guide.

Driving is a skill that we often take for granted, yet it's one that can always be improved upon.

For those looking to enhance their driving abilities beyond the basics learned in standard driving lessons, advanced driving courses offer a pathway to greater road safety, confidence, and potentially even cost savings on car insurance.

But what exactly is an advanced driving course, and is it worth the investment of your time and money?

The road to mastery: advanced vs standard driving lessons

Before delving into the intricacies of advanced driving courses, it's essential to understand how they differ from the standard driving lessons that most of us are familiar with.

Standard lessons are the bedrock of driving education, covering the essentials required to navigate the roads safely. These include mastering parking techniques, understanding how to approach junctions, and the correct way to navigate roundabouts.

In contrast, advanced driving courses are like a masterclass in driving. They are designed to equip drivers with the skills to handle a variety of specific and challenging situations that aren't typically covered in standard lessons.

These can range from night driving and tackling severe weather conditions to confidently cruising on motorways and dual carriageways.

Female driver having driving lesson

What's on the agenda? Course content and benefits

An advanced driving course is a comprehensive programme that aims to sharpen a driver's skills in several key areas:

  • Road awareness: Developing an acute sense of one's surroundings and potential hazards

  • Difficult weather conditions: Learning techniques for safe driving in rain, fog, ice, and snow

  • Motorways and dual carriageways: Understanding the nuances of high-speed driving

  • Night-time driving: Enhancing visibility and awareness when the sun goes down

  • Rural and urban driving: Adapting to varied environments with their own unique challenges

  • Speed awareness: Recognising the importance of speed control and its impact on safety

  • Transmission mastery: Becoming adept at both automatic and manual vehicles

  • Efficient driving: Learning how to drive in a way that conserves fuel and reduces wear and tear

Furthermore, these courses often provide invaluable advice on how to deal with other road users, including those who may not adhere to the best driving practices.

Eligibility and insurance implications

Any driver with a full UK driver's licence can enroll in an advanced driving course. The decision to take one should be based on a desire to improve driving skills, the time one is willing to commit, and, of course, the cost.

As car insurers generally view drivers who have passed an advanced course as less likely to have accidents, completing one can also help to cut your car insurance costs.

However, it’s important to consider that the cost of the course may outweigh the savings on your insurance policy.

Recognised courses and their advantages

Pass Plus

The Pass Plus scheme is a well-known advanced driving course available in the UK. As such, it’s widely recognised among insurers.

Run throughout the country by approved driving instructors (ADIs), it usually takes six hours to complete and covers areas of driving such as all-weather driving, motorway driving, night-time driving, and rush-hour traffic.

The cost of taking Pass Plus varies depending on the instructor, but some local councils offer a Pass Plus discount – so it’s worth seeing if you can benefit from this.

You may also be able to recoup the cost of the course by using your Pass Plus certificate to get a discount on your car insurance, especially if you are a young driver with little experience on the road.

IAM RoadSmart

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) accredited IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) RoadSmart advanced driving course involves between six and 12 sessions and covers control, observation, timing, positioning, and the ability to deal with unpredictable roads, among other things.

It involves multiple sessions that focus on control, observation, timing, and positioning, all conducted by an IMI expert in the driver's own vehicle. The course culminates in an advanced test, and successful completion can lead to IAM membership and potential insurance discounts.

Alternative courses

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Advanced Drivers and Rides scheme focuses on road safety and is based on the same roadcraft principles as the IAM advanced driving course.

It’s a cost-effective way to improve your driving, but RoSPA is not widely recognised by car insurance providers, so it’s best to not rely on it to help you cut your car insurance costs.

You can take advanced driving lessons with an AA driving school instructor. The minimum lesson time is two hours, during which you will cover skills such as urban and motorway driving.

However, while lessons of this kind can help to make you a better driver, they are less likely to lead to car insurance discount – unless you take your Pass Plus with the AA.

Beyond the Course: finding the right insurance

While advanced driving courses can lead to savings on car insurance, it's always wise to compare policies to ensure you're getting the best deal. MoneySuperMarket is a valuable resource for comparing car insurance deals, helping you find suitable policies at competitive prices.

The final turn

Advanced driving courses are not just about potentially lowering your car insurance premiums; they're about investing in your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Whether you're a new driver looking to build confidence or an experienced motorist aiming to refine your skills, these courses offer a route to becoming a more competent and responsible driver.

With the added bonus of possible insurance discounts and the invaluable knowledge gained, an advanced driving course could be a journey worth taking.