Driving Qualifications: Why It's Worth Going The Extra Mile
Some Driving Qualifications Are More Beneficial Than Others. Picking The Right Qualifications Can Not Only Improve Your Driving, But Reduce Your Insurance!
Jun 23, 2014
If you’re looking to be a safer driver and save money on your insurance you may have considered taking an advanced driving test. There are a number of advanced driver qualifications available in the UK which aim to make you more competent behind the wheel.
We’ve put together a guide to the most popular advanced driving qualifications that are available and highlighted some of the benefits of getting an additional qualification. Keep reading to find out more.
What advanced driving qualifications are available?
There are three main advanced driving courses available in the UK. These are:
1. Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) offers one of the country’s most respected advanced driving courses. As well as improving your on-road driving skills it also aims to improve every aspect of your driving, including fuel economy. The course culminates in a special advanced driving test, entitling you to become a full IAM member.
Most drivers sign up for a scheme which includes an initial assessment, a year’s IAM membership and fees for the course and test. Once you’re ready, you can take the advanced driving test where you’ll be examined on various factors including safety, smoothness and positioning.
The Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) runs an Advanced Drivers and Riders course which aims to promote an interest in road safety.
The training is provided by local groups and is free. Your tutor will provide lessons on a regular basis until you are ready for your test (which you do pay for). If you pass, you will automatically become a member of RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders. You have to take the exam again every three years and there are three different pass levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, giving most drivers room for improvement.
The RAC offers an advanced driving course through its driving school BSM. You take a two hour introductory session first during which your skills are tested. You can then take further ‘tailored’ driving lessons in your own car.
The actual advanced driving test lasts for around 90 minutes, and your skills will be assessed on a variety of roads. At the end of the test you will be awarded one of three ‘qualification grades’: platinum, gold or silver. Re-takes are needed every two to three years, depending on the grade you receive.
You’re Less Likely To Have an Accident
One of the main benefits of taking an advanced driving test is that you are less likely to be involved in an accident. According to RoSPA, advanced drivers are 25 per cent less likely to be involved in a crash.
Considering that 95 per cent of vehicle accidents are down to driver error, it makes sense that the better you are at driving, the higher the chances of not needing to claim on your insurance are. Not only will you keep you and your passengers safe but it can also save you money.
Your Insurance Premiums are Likely to be Cheaper
Passing an advanced driving qualification can also help you to reduce your car insurance premiums. As you’re less likely to be involved in an accident it follows that you represent a lower risk to an insurer.
However, you may need to shop around as Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers says: “While the comparison websites are very good they may not be the answer in this case as the insurers that come out the cheapest may not take into account advanced driving qualifications.
“You should find the cheapest, then ring them up to find out whether they will discount for advanced drivers. Some may well, alternatively, try an insurance broker."
Lots of benefits to an advanced driving qualification
As well as saying money, there are lots of reasons to consider taking an advanced test.
As the Daily Telegraph concludes: “Add in that being an advanced driver helps you return better economy, makes you better at spotting hazards and better at negotiating troublesome roads and adverse weather conditions, and it makes sense in more ways than just financial.”