What is advanced driving?
The Police and Roadcraft System of Car Control forms the basis for the standards applied by an advanced driver.
This is described by the principles set down in the IAM’s own manual ‘How to be an Advanced Driver’.
The content of both the IAM’s manual and Roadcraft is very broad and as a guideline your drive should be based on these main headings relating to Advanced Driving:
Safety always overrides any other aspects of driving. Without the safety aspect, there would be no need for the IAM Test. Advanced driving is about improving driver safety and education. Even where optimum progress may be desirable, position and speed must always be put aside and sacrificed for safety. At no point should you put the car in danger. Safety is the most important aspect for any road user to achieve and is the real reason why the IAM Test should be undertaken.
Advanced drivers use a way of driving called “The System” which is derived from the Police “Roadcraft” system of car control. The System of Car Control 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 luck or chance, therefore it will be safe. The driver throughout their guidance will be shown and guided using the System of Car Control which the IAM has used successfully since 1956. Using this system allows them to use all their skills to deal with any environment or situation, in enough time to decide on the best position, speed and gear of the vehicle to negotiate hazards safely.
If the driver uses the System of Car Control efficiently then their handling skills can be properly co-ordinated, along with observation. The drive should also be smooth, as well as safe and systematic. Every move the driver makes should be in good time, allowing them to make the best use of their skills. The vehicle should be stable with little bounce or roll on the road and any passengers should be comfortable in the vehicle and have the utmost confidence in the driver’s ability. Nothing the driver does should look or feel rushed or hurried, resulting in an economical use of fuel as well.
Frequently incorrectly translated to mean Speed, this is the ability to make good progress when safe to do so and is an important skill that an advanced driver should possess. Remember , SAFETY should NEVER be compromised, even though progress may be used to give a brisk drive, it may only be used when safe and appropriate to do so. Any excessive speed above the statutory speed limit, or the use of speed inappropriate for the circumstances regardless of any limit is dangerous and unacceptable. It must be remembered that speed limits are exactly that. Limits – not targets. Advanced drivers use their skill and awareness to decide when they should impose their own restraints, below the statutory speed limits depending on the circumstances.
The ability to recognise when to holdback from particular hazards to ensure the safety and reassurance of passengers and other road users, or to avoid causing others concern, even if this concern may be unjustified. Advanced drivers learn this skill through practice improving their ability to foresee the outcome of potential danger.
What the Examiner looks for in the advanced test?
The Examiner is looking at the whole drive. IAM Examiners do not search for faults alone; they are trained to search for positive aspects as well as negative. The Examiner will be honest and forthright regarding your overall ability and looks for the confident application and competence in all aspects of the drive. If all the above criteria are met, the drive should exhibit the qualities of a safe, systematic, smooth, progressive, and balanced drive. The driver ensures that the vehicle is always in the right place on the road, travelling at the right speed, in the right gear for the speed, and they can always stop the vehicle safely in the distance that can be seen to be clear.