Training options for qualified drivers
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 and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which commissions the standard test. You need to do it within a year of passing your test and the six modules it includes should help keep you out of trouble.
The most popular post-test training is Pass Plus, from the DVSA
Another course using regular DSA-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.
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 the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists), 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.