WHETHER you’ve been driving for six months or 16 years, the IAM Advanced Driving course can help you become a more skilled and controlled driver.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) believes you’re never too old or too young to be a better driver, and has a number of courses that can help you discover what areas of your driving you could improve.
It was with this in mind that Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Safe & Sustainable Travel Team enrolled their council photographer, Andrew Pratt, who drives all around the area on council business, and his 20-year-old son Matthew, to complete their Advanced Driving test.
Andrew said: “I wanted to do the course to improve my driving skills, as I spend a lot of time in my car traveling to various photographic jobs around the borough.
“My observer’s name is Andrew Mayfield, and we first had an introductory drive. This is where you’re given a route to follow while he observes your driving.”
The first drive lasts about 40 minutes and aims to get a starting point on areas to improve. After this, sessions take between an hour to an hour-and-a-half, and after six sessions if your driving is good then you can take your Advanced Motorists test.
After a few sessions Andrew commented: “I have been learning how to fine tune the way I drive, the way I look ahead and how to read the route better.
“Basically it's about using a systematic approach that teaches you how to take in information as you drive and letting everyone else around you know exactly what you intend to do.
The types of information you become more aware of are road conditions, hazards you can see or ones that might happen, preparing yourself a long distance away to take any action should it be needed.”
He added: “On a positive note, what I have noticed is that my driving has improved alongside my confidence. Also my ability to read situations has increased, to the point that I'm now planning for what other drivers might do so that I can keep away from any possible danger.”
Once ‘test day’ arrived Andrew was feeling a bit nervous, but after an hour- and-a-half covering all types of roads and scenarios he was delighted to have passed his exam.
He said: “I would encourage drivers to take advantage of the IAM Skill for Life programme, because it has made me a more skilled, controlled and confident driver.”
Matthew said: “I was keen to do the course to improve my driving skills, with the added bonus of hopefully lowering my insurance premiums. My first session was much more intensive than I imagined, and this has helped me to read the road and the road conditions in much more detail.
“We’ve covered positioning the car on the road and how to get into the correct position when taking bends on all types of roads. I’m now constantly scanning the road ahead and adjusting my driving to suit the road and the area I’m driving in.
“I am really enjoying the course, and looking forward to improving my driving even more. I am delighted that my dad passed his exam, and will look towards booking my advanced test.”
The IAM Advanced Driving Skill for Life course cost £139 in total, and a typical driver will have about eight sessions. Visit www.iam.org.uk or call 0845 126 8600 for more details.