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Motoring Editor Steve Nelson looks at the Advanced Motorists’ Skill For Life course.
I’M nearing the end of my journey along the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ Skill For Life course.
The grades on my observation sheet are all either 1 or 2 out of a possible 5, with grade 1 indicating that I am at the required standard to take the Advanced Driver test.
So I thought that now might be a good time to reflect on the benefits of becoming an Advanced Driver. Not the monetary type, although cheaper insurance and free RAC membership are carrots that cannot be ignored.
No, I’m talking here about the benefits on the road.
According to a study by Jean Hopkin Research Associates, published this month, 90 per cent of advanced drivers are more aware of other road users and potential hazards.
Sixty-six per cent believe that advanced driver training helped them to avoid an incident or collision, and 78 per cent have better car-handling skills.
The independent survey of 2,500 IAM members also shows that advanced driving saves fuel and money. Sixty per cent say their driving is more fuel-efficient as a result of taking a course.
The top ten reasons for taking the advanced driving course are:
• Greater awareness of potential hazards and difficult driving conditions
• Greater awareness of other road users
• Improved general driving outlook/ philosophy
• Improved planning and anticipation
• Smoother driving/ better progress
• Improved use of road space
• More alert driving – less ‘driving on auto-pilot’
• Better car-handling skills
• Improved confidence in my driving
• More tolerant and aware of the behaviour of other road-users.
Men are more likely than women to say their driving has become more responsible, considerate, and tolerant, and that they drive less fast as a result of the course.
Women are more likely than men to say their driving had become more decisive and confident.
Eighty-nine per cent agree that taking the IAM test had a permanent positive effect on their day-to-day driving. Women were more likely to report lasting effects on their driving style than men.
Among 17 to 29 year-olds, 49 per cent took the advanced test to get cheaper insurance and 60 per cent to reduce their risk of being involved in an accident.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “We know that educating drivers and changing their attitudes to driving makes them safer. This report also demonstrates an improvement in hazard-awareness and therefore a reduction in the likelihood of an accident.
“Young and inexperienced drivers in particular will benefit from further coaching, but more experience on the road doesn’t mean that your attitude to driving is any healthier. Advanced drivers are significantly safer in a number of key areas.”
EVERY Skill for Life course now comes with 12 months’ free RAC roadside and recovery cover, plus:
• An initial assessment with an IAM voluntary observer from your local IAM group
• As many on-road drives with an IAM Observer as you require to achieve “test ready” status
• How To Be A Better Driver guidebook
• Membership of your local IAM group, with invitations to group events
• Full preparation for your Advanced Driving Test
• Your Advanced Test with a qualified examiner
• An IAM Advanced Driving Certificate on passing the test
• Twelve-month membership of the national IAM, which includes the award winning membership magazine Advanced Driving; access to a host of membership benefits, privileges and discounts; special insurance discounts and policy cover once you have passed The Skill for Life package costs £139 Contact details
• Institute of Advanced Motorists: iam.org.uk
• The York Group of Advanced Motorists: yorkadvancedmotorists.co.uk. Group secretary Clive Tong: 07710 683501 or email@example.com