Will it fly?

The Test

The Test

The IAMRoadSmart Advanced Driving Test

Why take the Advanced Test?

Are you as good a driver as you think you are? The most experienced driver is one who never stops learning, for road conditions are continually evolving and you need to practise your skills no matter how expert you may become – or think you have become. The Driving Standards Agency (basic L-test) is only an elementary examination. The real learning starts when you can throw away your L-plates and begin the acquisition of mature driving skills. Many people realise this, and there comes a time when they want to reassure themselves that their driving is developing along the right lines.

This is why  iamRoadSmart (formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists) exists. It was founded in 1956 as a non-profit making organisation and is registered as a charity. It is dedicated to the promotion of road safety by encouraging motorists to take pride in good driving. By taking the test, you can measure the progress you have made since passing the basic test. At the time of writing, more than a quarter of a million people nationwide have taken the Advanced Driving Test, with a pass rate of around 70%. Altrincham Advanced Motorists typically achieves a pass rate of at least 80% on our fixed length driving courses.

What format does the test take

A test takes about 90 minutes and covers 35-40 miles. The route incorporates all kind of road conditions, including motorways (and there are plenty to choose from in the South Manchester area!), dual carriageways, congested urban areas, main roads, narrow country lanes and residential streets. You are not expected to give a display of fancy driving; you should handle your vehicle in the steady, workmanlike way you drive every day. The examiner does not, for example, expect exaggeratedly slow speeds or excessive signalling.

You are required to drive with due regard for road, traffic and weather conditions, observing all speed limits. You will need to show that you can drive briskly and that you are not afraid to cruise at the legal limit when circumstances permit – progress with safety. You will be asked to perform a selection of manoeuvres which may include being asked to reverse around a corner, manoeuvre into a parking space, perform a hill start and turn your vehicle around in the road. There are no trick questions and no attempts to catch you out. Throughout the test the examiner will give you route instructions, and there will be spot checks on your powers of observation. You are no longer required to give a commentary during part of your test, but doing so can confirm the quality of your observation.

The examiner, who will always hold a Police Advanced Driving Certificate and have a traffic patrol background, will tell you whether you have passed or failed at the end of the test. There may be praise, and certainly constructive criticism will be offered even if your standard of driving is good enough to pass. The test is conducted in a spirit of friendliness, not intimidation. Occasionally, the examiner may identify a potentially dangerous fault, and may draw your attention to this during the test. A quiet word will help you to correct it. You will not be failed for minor faults, but infringements of the law cannot be condoned.

Who and Where?

Anyone with a full UK or EU driving licence, including disabled drivers with suitably adapted cars, can take the test provided they have not been convicted of a serious traffic offence in the past three years. You can take the test in almost any car which you can provide yourself, most vans and trucks, and certain three-wheelers. You will not have to travel far because  iamRoadSmart has a network of over 130 test routes nationwide. The examiner will contact you to agree a mutually acceptable date and time, and will meet you at a pre-arranged rendezvous.

This article is abridged from "Pass Your Advanced Driving Test", and is copyright 1996 The Institute of Advanced Motorists and Ian Webb. Reproduced here in the interests of promoting road safety.

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