Think you’re a good driver? Prove it – pass an advanced driving test!
This page shows you the options you have for further training after you have passed your normal driving. After reading about these courses I hope you’ll see why driving is a skill that you never stop learning, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.
I offer advanced driving courses for full licence holders. You should have held a licence for a minimum of 3 months before taking an advanced course although really i recommend a minimum of 1 years experience.
Advanced driving lessons are not about learning how to drive. I will not insult your skill and experience by asking you what a red light means! Advanced lessons are about teaching people how to think, not drive. In my opinion, advanced driving is 90% mental skill and only 10% physical. It’s not beyond the means of most people but you must have the right attitude.
What is an advanced driver?
An advanced driver is someone who has complete control of their vehicle at all times in any situation. They use a system of driving that is smooth, controlled, progressive, positive, intuitive and safe. They also have complete understanding of defensive driving and are able to navigate traffic, bad weather, motorways and night time driving with ease. Advanced drivers use techniques that normal drivers are unaware of to make progress and drive in an environmentally friendly way.
Advanced driver Vs. Normal driver
One of the most commonly said things by young or inexperienced drivers is how they have quicker reactions than older drivers and that makes them better. The fact that you’re having to react in the first place means you’re doing something wrong! A great driver doesn’t need to react because they deal with the problem before it even develops. As an example, let’s imagine you’re driving behind a bus which pulls up at a stop. Here’s how each kind of driver would deal with it:
Normal driver – They would travel behind the bus too closely. They’d miss any clues it was about to pull over and when it does, they’d then react by braking hard and swerving around it, often nearly hitting someone head on or at least causing them to slow down.
Advanced driver – They would see all the clues that the bus is about to pull over. There are people walking down the aisle of the bus, people at the stop picking up bags and asking the bus to stop. You can tell the bus is slowing down and changing gears from a puff of smoke from the exhaust pipe. With all this they would check the mirrors, also assess what’s ahead, signal early and use an overtaking triangle system to safely move around the bus, checking for pedestrians crossing in front. No other driver has suffered any intrusion and the whole thing was planned so well that you wouldn’t even know anything had happened.
Reactions never beat experience and planning. You’ll see a reactive driver in this video.
Who can take the advanced test?
Anyone who has passed the L test can take the advanced test but I very much recommend you have at least 1 year experience of driving and a minimum of 10,000 miles behind you. This is because you need to be able to use experience when making decisions and if you have only just passed the L test you will find the advanced course far too difficult. You will also need a clean licence with no points, outstanding bans or disqualifications. You may be able to take the test if you have just 3 points on your licence.
What does the test involve?
It depends which one you take because there are several. I did one known as a part 2 and it’s part of the driving instructor qualification process. It is far more than just a slightly harder L test. A learner driver is allowed to make 15 minor faults in around 35 minutes on a basic set of roads. You will be driving for over an hour on the advanced test, on every kind of road imaginable including motorways and must make a maximum of 6 minor faults. You pick up faults far more easily than on the L test because an extremely high standard of driving is required.
How you do things is marked instead of just what you do as on a normal L test. Any sudden braking or action which is not smooth and well planned will be frowned upon.Depending on the test you take, you may also have to complete an emergency stop and all 5 maneuvers (Turn in the road, left reverse, right reverse, bay park and parallel park) and they must be done faultlessly with immaculate observation and control. The test is usually taken in your own vehicle as you mustn’t display any signs to other drivers that you are on a test.
The different organisations that conduct advanced driving tests include IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) and RoSPA (Royal society for the prevention of accidents).
Beyond advanced driving
If you’re really keen on being a good driver then how about becoming a driving instructor? As well as passing an advanced test (known as a part 2) you’ll also have to pass an advanced theory test and give two driving lessons to a senior DVSA supervising examiner.
Being able to drive well is one thing, being able to teach others takes it to a whole new level. Transferring skills to others takes a lot of training. Could you talk a novice driver through any situation, planning an appropriate route and keeping your eye on the time, syllabus and many other things? Being an instructor can be a highly rewarding career, not just financially but through seeing people achieve their aims.
Beyond beyond advanced driving
If you are fanatical about driving then why not try the ultimate driving test – the Cardington special. This high level advanced test is only open to fully qualified driving instructors and is the absolute ultimate test of civilian driving ability.
You can make 2 minor faults in around 90 minutes of driving. After the test you’ll have to wait 48 hours for the examiners verdict in the post.
The Diamond special is an almost identical test. This is marked to the same level and conducted by the DIA (Driving Instructors Association).
Passing any test actually means very little. You can take the most advanced test there is and then go and crash the hour after taking it. Really good drivers never stop learning. Just passing a test once does not make you perfect but it does show you can achieve that level. If you continue to drive that way you will reap the rewards by feeling safer and calmer as you drive.