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  • FIRST POST
    • LadyMcFinch
    • By LadyMcFinch 18th Oct 16, 9:38 PM
    • 3Posts
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    LadyMcFinch
    Best way to improve driving skills?
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:38 PM
    Best way to improve driving skills? 18th Oct 16 at 9:38 PM
    Hi all,

    I passed my test 10 years ago but hated driving so I avoided it altogether until last year, when I got a job that requires me to drive regularly.

    I now really quite enjoy driving and I've recently got my first car, but I'm conscious that my driving skills are not the best - despite my best efforts I'm still easily flustered, and my road position is often not the best.

    I'd like to get some lessons or a course in my own car, ideally to learn and practice defensive driving techniques. I was wondering whether anyone can offer an opinion on what I should look for - Pass Plus, IAM, general refresher lessons or something else? The structure of the IAM course sounds like it fits the bill the most, but I can't work out whether you're supposed to be already be 'advanced' before you start?

    Thanks for any thoughts on this
Page 1
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 18th Oct 16, 9:48 PM
    • 12,132 Posts
    • 10,508 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:48 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:48 PM
    So your test was ten years ago, of which you've not driven for nine years...?

    IAM might be a bit too advanced. I'd suggest starting with a refresher with a well-regarded local instructor, as much to see if you get on with them and the way they teach as anything - and see how it goes and what they suggest from there. From "but hated it", I guess confidence is going to be your biggest issue - and an instructor who's right for you will do a LOT more for that than an instructor you don't get on with.

    Pass Plus is just a syllabus for a six-hour post-test course that pretty much any instructor will be able to do - but you probably won't find the branding will help much with your insurance, and you'd be better off with a more targetted approach to your actual issues.

    Good luck!
    • LadyMcFinch
    • By LadyMcFinch 18th Oct 16, 9:54 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    LadyMcFinch
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:54 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:54 PM
    Thanks for the advice! I did think IAM would be too advanced, I'm just really interested in the whole defensive driving thing so it sounded appealing.

    I definitely have confidence issues, although I'm much more confident now after a year of regular driving, but more than anything I really want to be as safe a driver as possible. I'll look around for a good local instructor and take it from there - thanks again!
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 18th Oct 16, 10:01 PM
    • 12,132 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:01 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:01 PM
    Keep us posted on how it goes.

    Meanwhile, feel free to have a look at post 13 onwards in this thread, and realise that - no matter how unsure you may be - you aren't THIS bad...
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5542600
    • Joe Horner
    • By Joe Horner 18th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
    • 3,661 Posts
    • 3,031 Thanks
    Joe Horner
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
    Good advice from Adrian (as always except when he disagrees with me )

    The fact that you're enjoying driving now is a great start - not many people can become really good at things they find a chore! The right local instructor will be able to take you a long way.

    Bear in mind, though, that "right" in this sense is a very personal thing - recommendations are a good place to start but don't be discouraged if you try a "recommended" instructor and find that you don't seem to be making progress. If you're lucky you'll hit on the right one first time but don't feel you need to stick with one if it doesn't work out.

    Remember that, to a large extent, good driving is a state of mind. You can obviously control the car itself or you'd never have passed your test, and you can obviously still control the car or you'd be kangarooing all the way to work.

    A certain amount of confidence is needed, to avoid getting flustered (which can be dangerous in the worn situation) but you also need to be honest with yourself - which you obviously are by posting this!

    Even without an instructor beside you, try to get in the habit of thinking over things that go wrong (after you've finished the drive!). Don't beating yourself up about them, the idea is to see what you could have done differently. The same goes for things that go really right - try to understand why they went right as a blueprint for the future!

    Above all, enjoy learning - it's a life-long classroom out there on the roads
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 18th Oct 16, 10:11 PM
    • 12,132 Posts
    • 10,508 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:11 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:11 PM
    Good advice from Adrian (as always except when he disagrees with me )
    Originally posted by Joe Horner
    Only when you're wrong, mate.
    • Andrew Ryan 89
    • By Andrew Ryan 89 18th Oct 16, 10:26 PM
    • 417 Posts
    • 239 Thanks
    Andrew Ryan 89
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:26 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:26 PM
    Practice. I was driving for almost 4 years but never used to go on the motorway much. Since moving house and starting a new job I'm always on the motorway and my skills have improved 10 fold. As my instructor told me, it will take around 5 to 10 years of driving, facing different conditions and under different circumstances , in order to reach your peak driving abilities.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 18th Oct 16, 11:37 PM
    • 2,221 Posts
    • 1,921 Thanks
    Richard53
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:37 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:37 PM
    I did think IAM would be too advanced
    Originally posted by LadyMcFinch
    Not really. If you look up the IAM 'Skills for Life' package, you will find it is aimed at the 'normal' driver who wants to improve. You will get some observed runs (they don't do 'lessons' for legal reasons) and be put in for the advanced test at the end. I have offered to pay for both my daughters to do it, although they haven't taken me up on it yet


    Don't be put off by the 'standard' of the IAM. In my opinion, they standard they work towards is how all drivers should be. It's nothing fancy: good car control, good anticipation, patience and restraint and the confidence to 'make progress' when it's safe to do so, plus the ability to explain and justify what you are doing to a third party. By the time you have had a couple of sessions, your confidence should be a lot better. The best thing is it makes you think about what you are doing, which can never be a bad thing.


    In your position, I would certainly make some enquiries. And can I congratulate you on your attitude? Too many people think they know it all and find ways of blaming someone, anyone, for what goes wrong, when in reality the answer was in their own hands. You know you need to improve and are actively seeking ways to do it, and that makes you a good driver already in my view.
    If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart. (Attrib. to Socrates)
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