Popular consumer magazine â€˜Which?â€™ has released a definitive guide listing the top three advanced driving courses in the UK for 2013. The prestigious publication is read by thousands across the UK and in a bid to enhance the driving skills of motorists, young and old, â€˜Which?â€™ puts forward its recommendations for the best advanced driving courses on the market.
In first place â€“ The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) course
As one of Britainâ€™s most respected advanced driving course service providers, IAM has long been considered the first â€˜port of callâ€™ for any motorist that is giving serious consideration to an advanced driving course.
â€˜Which?â€™ magazine says: â€œUnlike some of the specialist track days out there, it aims to improve every aspect of participantsâ€™ driving â€“ saving them fuel and cash in the process. The course culminates in a special advanced driving test, entitling you to become a full IAM member.
To get involved, most people sign up for the Â£139 Skill for Life programme, which includes an initial assessment (to see how good you already are) as well as a yearâ€™s IAM membership and fees for the course and test.
Youâ€™ll be trained by a local group of IAM volunteers and, when youâ€™re good enough, youâ€™ll be able to apply to take the advanced driving test. This is usually taken in your own vehicle with an examiner who assesses various aspects of the drive, such as safety, smoothness and positioning. If you pass, you could get a discount on your car insurance.
The course is open to anyone who has held a full driving licence for at least three months, but unresolved court proceedings for driving offences (including speeding tickets) could affect your eligibility.â€
In second place â€“ The RoSPA course
The RoSPA (Royal Soicety for the Prevention of Accidents) claims that advanced motorists are 25% less likely to be involved in a road traffic accident than standard drivers. Based on this knowledge, RoSPA launched its owned advanced driving course with the intention of promoting road safety.
â€˜Which?â€™ magazine says: â€œRoSPAâ€™s course uses local groups around the country to provide training, which is free – you only need to pay for the actual test. Your tutor will give you lessons on a regular basis (usually an hour or so a week) until they feel you are ready for the test. If you pass, you will automatically become a member of RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders.
Annual membership costs Â£20 but test re-takes, which must be completed every three years, are free of charge. Members also get a range of benefits, including discounts on sat navs and Halfords products and services. You may also get a discount on your car insurance premiums.â€
In third place â€“ The RAC advanced driving course
Via its own driving school, BSM, the RAC offer motorists the opportunity to enhance their driving skills with its own advanced driving school.
â€˜Which?â€™ magazine says: â€œYouâ€™ll need to attend a two-hour introductory session first, during which your driving skills will be assessed, and youâ€™ll then get the chance to take further â€˜tailoredâ€™ driving lessons at the rate of around Â£27 an hour.
These sessions should be taken in your own car, as it makes it easier for you to concentrate on the advanced driving techniques, but BSM cars can be used if necessary.
The actual advanced driving test lasts for around 90 minutes, and your skills will be assessed on a variety of roads. Youâ€™ll also be asked to perform one reversing manoeuvre and possibly an emergency stop.
At the end of the test you will be awarded one of three â€˜qualification gradesâ€™: platinum, gold or silver. Re-takes are needed every two to three years, depending on the initial grade received.
Passing this course could make you eligible for a discount on your car insurance, but it’s down to your insurer to decide.â€
For young drivers in particular, advanced driving courses represent a great opportunity to improve skills, gain further road experience and reduce insurance premiums. The DfT highly recommends advanced driving courses for new motorists and motorists up to the age of 25, however, drivers of all ages are known to benefit from the courses.