Advanced and intensive driving courses

Find out how advanced driving and intensive driving courses can improve your driving and help reduce the cost of car insurance

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Advanced driving courses

Advanced driving courses are aimed at newly qualified drivers and more experienced drivers. 

They are popular with drivers because: 

  • they help give greater control of your vehicle: motorbike or motor car

  • this can help you reduce your motor’s wear and tear 

  • and save money on petrol or diesel – more control equals better fuel efficiency

  • they give you a professional level qualification

  • help can lower car insurance costs – though you will need to check with your insurer first

What advanced driving course should I choose?

The most popular advanced driving courses include:

  • IAM RoadSmart

  • Pass Plus Scheme

  • Rospa’s advanced driving

How much does an advanced driving course cost?

The cost of an advanced driving course depends on the driving course provider, and the length of time it takes to complete:

  • IAM Road Smart costs from £150

  • Pass Plus can cost between £160 and £200

  • RoSPA’s course costs from £240

  • some local councils offer discounts on advanced driving courses. 

What do advanced driving courses cover?

Advanced driving courses - driving in the town and countryside

Advanced driving courses will teach drivers how to deal with different types of roads and traffic conditions

  • urban areas advanced drivers can improve how they navigate complex junctions,

  • countryside driving training helps drivers navigate blind bends; animals in the road; using passing places; overtaking on narrow roads, as well as dealing with slow vehicles, such as wider farm vehicles 

  • advanced motorcycling courses include training on hazard perception and risk awareness when overtaking or filtering through traffic

Advanced driving courses - all weather conditions

Advanced driving courses will teach drivers how to cope with different weather conditions:

  • this includes heavy rain, snow, ice, fog and even dazzling sunshine

  • they also help drivers prevent and handle skidding 

  • advanced driving courses also cover the need for longer stopping distances in bad weather

Advanced driving courses - night driving

Advanced driving courses aimed at newer drivers – such as Pass Plus – include helping drivers who uses roads after dark; 

  • learning about the correct use of headlamps

  • adjusting to different light levels

  • getting used to being dazzled 

  • judging speeds and distance

Advanced driving courses - motorways and dual carriageway driving

Advanced courses may include learning how to keep to a safe speed in different conditions, deal with motorway fatigue, handle a breakdown, use lanes correctly and follow signs.

Advanced driving courses - more efficient driving

Advanced driving will also teach drivers better control of the gears, resulting in improved control of the car which can also cut down on fuel costs.

Choosing your advanced driving course

Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) RoadSmart 

The IAM RoadSmart course is based on the police’s roadcraft driving and control system.

Drivers are taught:

  • road positioning 

  • how to negotiate and anticipate hazards while driving

  • control, observation and timing 

  • how to deal with unpredictable roads 

  • how to deal with other road users’ behaviour

It takes between three and six months to complete, you’ll get verbal and written feedback you also have to pass an advanced driving test and you get a year’s IAM membership

Pass Plus Scheme

Pass Plus is popular among younger and newer drivers. 

  • it helps drivers learn additional driving skills to those required to pass their driving test

  • it takes six hours

  • there is no test to complete

  • it includes six modules 

  • after passing a driver can apply for the DVSA for a Pass Plus certificate 

  • this certificate can be used to get cheaper car insurance

  • you can also book Pass Plus courses through driving schools

RoSPA advanced driving test

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) runs an advanced driving test that lasts around 45 to 60 minutes. 

  • the test is taken with a RoSPA examiner, all of whom are serving or retired UK police officers

  • it includes regular re-tests and is monitored and approved by the DVSA

  • the RoSPA advanced driving test is grade graded bronze, silver or gold 

  • the cost of the advanced driving test is from £62 while the four-day course costs from £240

Learning to drive - driving crash courses

Crash, or intensive driving courses, are popular with learner drivers who want to learn quickly:

  • some intensive driving courses can help learner drivers pass their test in two weeks.

  • according to the DVSA the average learner needs 47 lessons to pass their practical driving test. 

Before you start your intensive driving course:

  • you must hold a provisional UK driving licence.

  • if you have your own car you will need car insurance

  • have passed the theory part of the driving test

You may also want to take out short term car insurance if you have borrowed someone else’s car to practice your driving.

Younger drivers also need to shop around for insurance as car insurance for young drivers can be more expensive.

How much does an intensive driving course cost?

A week-long course can cost around £1,000, while a two-week course may be double that. 

  • the average learner needs 47 lessons to pass their test

  • driving lessons cost around £25 each

  • the total cost of driving lessons will be more than £1,000 

  • and you have to budget for the cost of theory and practical tests

Where can I take a seven-day driving course?

You may have a training course local to you or you can choose to do a residential version where you stay away from home, usually for about a week. 

  • you take your test on the final day

  • some courses split training so it’s not in one intensive block. 

  • as with standard driving lessons instruction is one-to-one tuition with a qualified driving instructor

  • unlike standard lessons it is more focused on any areas the driver needs to improve. 

Are intensive courses longer than a week?

  • You can do it in one or two weeks; expect to spend between four and five hours a day on the road.

  • If you have already taken a few lessons you might could opt for a two-day course with just 10 hours of training.

The driving school running the course should be able to offer you an assessment to see how many lessons, or what length of course you need.

When do I take my driving test?

When you book your course you will get a fast-tracked practical test at the end.

Advanced motorcycling courses 

IAM RoadSmart and RoSPA runs advanced rider courses. There is also the national BikeSafe workshop scheme run by the police. 

Bikesafe advanced motorcyclist scheme

This involves at least one observed ride with a police traffic motorcyclist or approved BikeSafe observer. 

  • Training and observed rides all take place in a single day. 

  • The course covers: rider attitude, cornering, positioning, overtaking, observation, braking, hazard perception and use of gears.

  • The cost of the course to riders is £65. The actual cost is £250 but the scheme is subsidised by local authorities through Safer Road Partnerships.  

IAM advanced rider course

  • The course can take between three and six months to complete.

  • Local courses differ but all groups include trained volunteers who take you on a number of observed rides before you take the test. 

  • Contributions are voluntary but donations of £5-£10 are suggested.

  • The course covers: road positioning, riding at the appropriate speed, selecting the right gear and accelerating

RoSPA advance motorcycle training

RoSPA’s advanced motorcycle training is a four-day course, leading to RoSPA’s Advanced Motorcycle test. 

  • The test is approved by the DVSA and lasts around 45 to 60 minutes. It is taken with a RoSPA Examiner, all of whom are serving or retired Police Officers in the UK.

Advanced driving courses and Roadcraft 

Advanced driving courses, and tests are based upon the 'system of car control'. This is detailed in Roadcraft – The Police Driver Handbook. 

According to both RoSPA and IAM it is unlikely anyone can become an advanced driver without a good knowledge of the current editions of both The Highway Code and Roadcraft.

"Advanced driving is the ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle safely, systematically and smoothly, using road and traffic conditions to progress unobtrusively with skill and responsibility." Driving Standards Authority/Institute of Advanced Motoring RoSPA, 1997

The benefits of advanced driving?

  • Safer driving

  • Saving money on fuel

  • Less wear and tear to your vehicle

  • Cheaper insurance as some insurers will offer a discount on car insurance. 

Find a car insurance policy

How else can I get cheaper car insurance?

The amount of motoring experience you have under your belt will determine how expensive your car insurance is. 

There are some things you can do that may reduce the cost of your car insurance:

  • Having a black box fitted

  • Lowering your mileage

  • Parking in a private driveway or garage

  • Considering a multi-car insurance policy

  • Choosing a car from a low insurance group

Black box car insurance

Having a black box fitted means your driver behaviour is monitored. It reports on how you accelerate, brake and negotiate sharp bends. The data is analysed, and if your scores are positive, your car insurance may be discounted over time.

Lowering mileage 

If you drive fewer miles in a year this could result in a lower car insurance premium.

Parking in a private driveway

Parking in a private driveway or garage can also attract a discount. Car insurers may take into account where you park depending where you live.

A multi-car insurance policy

If your driveway is cluttered with cars, you may want to consider a multi-car insurance policy.

Choosing a car from a lower insurance group

Generally, the lower the value of the car and the cheaper it is to repair, the less car insurance you may have to pay. 

Other reasons to take an advanced driving course 

Not all car insurance providers offer reduced car insurance if you take an advanced driving course.

But over the long term an advanced driving course should help improve your driving which means you may make less claims and see your car insurance premium reduce over time.

Car insurance is just one of the costs of keeping your car on the road along with tax, petrol and servicing, so cut your insurance costs by comparing the best deals for you.