Many Driving Instructors offer Advanced Courses, but relatively very few of them are qualified to Police Class 1 level.
It is common for Driving Schools to offer courses that are nothing more than driving to the learner syllabus, but to a better standard than a learner would.
This course isn't one of them.
The course consists of 2 x 1 day modules. The days do not have to be consecutive, you can book any days that are available.
The intention of this course is to improve your observation and anticipation, increase your skills at handling your car in all situations, use speed and progress appropriately and to know your own limits and to stay within them.
There are no 'off road' skid pan modules, no racing driver techniques, no risk taking.
Driving safely on the public roads whilst making the most appropriate progress is an extremely useful skill to have. Knowing 'when to go' and knowing 'when to slow' can make the difference between life and death. Literally.
It is impossible to take even the shortest drive without having to deal with hazards. The simple truth is that most people don't see them, don't anticipate, don't react and even put themselves at risk every time they drive. They have no idea they're doing it, and even when involved in a collision they blame every one and the environment rather than themselves.
Enjoy Your Driving, Stay Safe, Protect Your Family
The contents of the course are entirely flexible and will be determined by your needs. It is not possible in 2 days to develop all the skills and experience that Police drivers do in a course lasting 5 or 6 weeks of incredibly intensive full time driver training. You can, however, learn the foundations and develop the ability to recognise and avoid dangerous situations
- Know yourself, know your limits
- Introduction to the System of Car Control
- Road Positioning for progress and safety
- Acceleration sense
- Use of speed - learn the 'tyre grip' trade-off to stay on the road
- Hazards and dangers
- Extended Observation, scanning, Information Links and Awareness
- System of Car Control for all Hazards
- Common collision themes - recognise, act, avoid
- Applying the System in all situations
- Safe progress, overtaking
- Micro climates, environmental dangers
- Police Speed Detection methods and procedures
- Motorways, Dual Carriageways
Learning the skills of advanced driving is one of the most useful and practical things you can do. Advanced Driving can have a direct impact on your life. If you avoid being involved in just one collision through the skills you apply you can save much more than the cost of this course.
I have been involved in the investigation of thousands of Road Traffic Collisions, from very minor 'bumps' that cause disruption and some financial loss, through to supervising incidents that resulted in fatalities or serious life changing injuries.
Being involved in a collision costs money. Quite often lots of money.
Collisions also cause despair and misery that is difficult to comprehend until it happens to you.
The very sad truth is that the vast majority of them are entirely avoidable. Simple mistakes in judgement, and in many cases a complete lack of observation and linking what can be seen to what might happen, can change a normal drive into a disaster. It happens every day, and the effects are devastating.
If anyone needs convincing that it is quite common for people to drive whilst either being completely unaware of the dangers just ahead or of failing to interpret and react to what was seen, look no further than the common and recurring single vehicle collisions. Time and again drivers leave the road due to a lack of concentration.
There are, of course, incidents in which drivers come across hazards that would surprise most people, such as hidden pot-holes, but these are comparatively rare compared with the number of incidents in which bends in the road are negotiated too fast.
I have seen incidents in which people died but only one vehicle with one driver was involved. There were no external factors what so ever. No other cars, no animals running over the road, no road surface defects, nothing unexpected.
The driver simply failed to observe the environment and the road that they were driving on, failed to anticipate and failed to deal with what should have been a straightforward situation. In many cases just a slight change of speed or position could have led to a completely different outcome. Either no collision at all or an 'unpleasant near-miss' at worst.
I have even heard Driving Instructors make statements such as "that road is really dangerous"
Statements such as that help no one to improve and face the fact that their own driving is to blame, not the road.
At road safety talks given to groups of over a hundred people, when someone has mentioned a "dangerous road", I've made the following statement:
"There are no dangerous roads, only drivers who fail to observe and fail to react. No stretch of tarmac in history has ever come alive and forced a vehicle off the road, drivers simply fail to anticipate and adjust position and speed accordingly"
Car repairs, recovery costs, the expense and inconvenience of taxi rides and your insurance may rise so much that you simply can't afford to get behind the wheel again. No one can guarantee that you'll never be involved in a collision, but taking an Advanced Course or Pass Plus can dramatically reduce your chances of putting yourself in danger if you apply what you learn.
You'll probably spend the rest of your life driving regularly, so why not learn how to do it to a standard that most other drivers never reach?
If you've recently passed your driving test, particularly in the last 12 months, I would recommend the Weelz Pass Plus course which includes many of the techniques of Advanced Driving. Pass Plus gets you a recognised certificate and you could even save money on insurance costs.
The skills I discuss on this course are the same skills that Police Traffic Response Drivers use every day of their working lives. They use these same skills when driving at 30mph in a busy urban area or at speeds well in excess of the speed limits whilst responding to emergencies or when involved in pursuits. The skills remain the same, they do not change, no matter what the environment or circumstances.
I will discuss and help you to develop these skills but I will not expect or encourage you to drive at high speeds.
Make no mistake, Advanced Driving is not slow driving. Advanced Driving is about making excellent progress but maintaining complete safety.
The main message of Advanced Driving is that you drive well within your own limits, not on the edge of them.
There is no place for risk and there is no place for putting yourself or anyone else in danger. This course is entirely the opposite of that.
There is no certificate or qualification when you complete this course. This is an entirely practical course that is not designed to 'qualify' you, it's designed to help you save your life and protect the safety of all the people you have in your car.
You may notice that I include a training section on Police speed detection methods. I will not, at any time, encourage, direct or instruct you to break the speed limit or any road traffic legislation. The reason this section is included is that normal drivers react in strange and random ways when they 'suddenly' come across a speed detection Officer. If you can anticipate where these may be, you can prepare yourself for the dangers caused by other drivers.
This course can thoroughly prepare you for the Advanced Test offered by both ROSPA and the Institute of Advanced Motorists. These organisations have local groups all over the UK and I can't recommend them highly enough. Should you decide to join either group, you'll meet like minded people with a keen interest in Advanced Driving. Neither I nor any Instructor or trainer can guarantee that you'll pass any Advanced Driving Test.
Advanced Drivers use the term 'hazard' to describe anything that can cause a change of speed or direction.
After completing this course, you'll have the skills to observe and perceive hazards much sooner than a normal driver. You'll also be shown how to interpret what you see, make decisions based on the information you have and how to apply the System of Car Control to deal with the danger.
You need to remember, you are the driver and you remain entirely responsible for your actions. I can help and advise you, but you have your hands on the controls and your feet on the pedals. The driving is down to you.
Observation And Anticipation
Look further, see more, anticipate and plan by linking what you can see with what you can reasonably expect to happen.
The term "reasonably expect to happen" seems like common sense, but it's surprising just how many people cannot even begin to imagine what could happen. Drivers may see what is in front of them, but they don't always interpret what it means.
There is a difference between 'seeing' and 'observing'.
A normal driver may 'see' what is ahead but take no real account of it because they don't have the skills or experience to realise what may happen.
An Advanced Driver will observe. They will see, notice, interpret, link what they can see with what they can't, and make decisions based on information that is not obvious to the normal driver.
Many times a Police Traffic patrol driver responding to an emergency will slow to a speed well below the speed that a normal driver would. In fact, a normal driver would likely deem such a dramatic reduction of speed as unnecessary.
This is the difference between 'seeing' and the skill of 'observing' that Advanced Drivers demonstrate. In this instance, the Police Officer would have observed the situation around them, compared their internal library of 'what may happen', interpreted the circumstances and taken action by adjusting their speed accordingly.
System Of Car Control
The System of Car Control is a step by step method of handling the car on the approach to and through any hazard.
Developed many years ago when our roads first started to get busy, the system is as relevant now as it's ever been.
The DVSA system (Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre or MS-PSL) is based very much on the system of car control, but is 'scaled down' for normal drivers to understand and apply.
As soon as a hazard is observed, the system comes into play.
In reality, the system is always in play because there are always hazards.
Once you develop the skills to recognise hazards you'll find that your concentration can improve and you'll be using the system constantly. It's not a matter of simply driving around until something obvious appears in front of you.
Potential hazards are everywhere, and you'll be at some stage of the system, from turning the key in the ignition when you start up, to turning it off again once your journey is over.