Advanced Driving Test

The Institute of Advanced Motorists was founded in 1956 to encourage British drivers to improve their skills and to demonstrate them in a new advanced driving test. The driving style and method was one that was used by the Metropolitan Police, using a system of car control known as 'Roadcraft'.

This system of car control was (and still is) a way of driving that allows the driver to approach all situations and negotiate all hazards in a methodical and flexible way that leaves nothing to chance or luck. Using this system allows drivers to use all their skills to deal with any situation or environment in enough time to decide on the best position, speed and gear of the vehicle to negotiate hazards safely. The system has been developed over the years, and you can most easily find out about it by buying the book 'Roadcraft' (published by The Stationery Office, available at good bookshops).

Advanced Test Organisations

There are a number of organisations offering Advanced Driving Tests, the 2 principal ones being The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Both organisations expect you to have a good knowledge of basic driving theory. The IAM is a much larger organisation than RoSPA, and many more people have passed the IAM test than the RoSPA test. There is just one pass standard on the IAM test, and if you continue your annual subscription you retain your official status indefinitely. The RoSPA test is graded Pass at Gold, Silver, Bronze or Ungraded standard. You must take retests every 3 years to retain your official status.

Training for the Advanced Test

Research indicates that drivers trained to the advanced standard are 20% less likely to be involved in an accident. Apart from being safer on the road, you could also gain from:

  • lowering your car insurance premiums
  • improved fuel consumption
  • less wear and tear on your vehicle
  • reduced levels of driving stress

You can train for an advanced driving test by contacting IAM or RoSPA for details of your local group and becoming an Associate Member. You'll then be able to prepare for the test alongside others, receiving free guidance from group members known as 'observers', as well as participating in the social activities organised by those groups. The observers' role is to give feedback rather than to teach, and you will have to fit in with their timetables for your driving assessments.

Alternatively, you can contact a professional driving instructor (ADI) who can give you useful training in preparation for one of the tests. Try to find one that has passed at least one of the tests and can show evidence of maintaining that standard. They should also preferably be able to demonstrate their ability to teach effectively at this standard of driving, rather than simply at the basic learner level. Although you will have to pay for this training, you will have more control over when you have the training. You can, of course, choose to do both options.