Once you’ve ripped up your L-plates, you face a tougher time than ever on the roads. Every day in the UK, two under-25s are killed in car crashes, which is why it’s worth having extra training once you’ve got your licence. The most popular post-test training is Pass Plus, from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which commissions the standard test. The six modules it includes should help keep you out of trouble.
Becoming a safer driver
Another course using regular DVSA-approved instructors is the DIA Diamond Plus programme, aimed at those with a couple of years’ experience behind the wheel. It differs from the other courses by distancing itself from the term ‘advanced driving’ by concentrating on safer drivers with common sense, and an eye on economical driving.
Diamond Plus covers the six Pass Plus modules but combines elements of the hazard perception test, asking drivers to commentate on what they’re doing and advise the reasons behind their decisions. It’s an alternative approach that separates lucky manoeuvres from ones with real intelligence and planning.
Another innovative feature is the idea of having a ‘driving buddy’. The idea is that couples or mates book up together to make the coaching more fun. It’s like going to the gym; you can spur each other on, or even compete.
Post-test driver improvement courses
Another training programme prioritising safety over savings is the advanced driving test from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). At 90 minutes long, it’s longer than the DIA test but covers much the same material, with the addition of an informal Q&A session on car maintenance and the Highway Code.
The coaching required is much more comprehensive, with around three months of weekly meetings required to get the average young driver up to scratch. With the previous courses this would lead to a hefty bill, but this is where RoSPA differs. Your approved, qualified tutor is a previous trainee just like yourself and is supplied as a volunteer from one of the organisation’s local groups.
Another great option for your advanced driving course is through IAM RoadSmart, which is especially keen to attract younger drivers. By far the largest advanced driving group, this is another group that offers coaching through volunteers who have passed the course themselves.
Books to help you improve your driving
You don’t have to sign up to a course, go out with any kind of tutor in your car, or even spend more than a tenner to continually improve your driving once you’ve passed your test. All you need is a decent source of information, so you’ll need to invest in a copy of the police driver’s bible, a book called Roadcraft.
This tells you how to deal with any situation you’re likely to encounter behind the wheel, and for just a tenner or so, you’ll learn all sorts of great techniques that will make your driving smoother, safer and more comfortable. However, Roadcraft isn’t the only guide to better driving; there’s a whole stack of other titles that do a great job too.
All of these guide you through how to be a better driver once you’ve ripped up your L-plates, and unlike the structured courses already mentioned, you can learn at your own pace, at a time that suits you, and without anybody constantly assessing you.