Here you can findout more about the Advanced Drivers Group and the Advanced Test
The principle objectives of the car section are to encourage interest in road safety while improving driving standards.
We aim to provide high quality training that will enable Associates to pass the RoADAR Advanced Car Test at the highest standard.
If you are looking to improve your driving skills then look no further. We are a friendly group who are here to help develop your abilities through the application of the Police system of car control as detailed in Roadcraft.
On joining our group you will be assigned a Tutor who will work with you at your pace and at times convenient to both of you. All training is on a one to one basis unless you request a different approach.
We recognise that such training can be daunting but it is designed to be as much fun as it is safe. We know that if you don’t enjoy it you just won’t do it – and neither would our Tutors. Feedback tells us that the vast majority of people who join our group not only value the improvements in their driving but also look forward to each training session. Why not become part of our success?
All our tutors have passed the advanced test at either Silver or Gold standard and undergone further training to hone their tutoring skills. Some also hold the prestigious RoSPA Diploma. They are all volunteers but they are also very professional.
Quality training is paramount, that's why our training is conducted on a one to one basis.
Once you have joined the Group by sending off the completed application form and a cheque the Chief Tutor will assign a Tutor to you.Your Tutor will make contact with you and arrange a date and time for your first meeting where he will explain the process in detail.
You go for drives in your own car where the Tutor will give you feedback on your driving and may also give demonstration drives in their own car to show what is meant. As you progress through the preparation for the test the sessions will become more and more coaching versus training.
Each observed drive session is normally about two hours although you can, of course, agree with your Tutor longer or shorter sessions depending on your needs. The training process is very much a two way discussion rather than a straight teaching period since you will be encouraged to adopt principles and put them into practice versus being taught mechanical techniques and drive like a robot.
At the end of the session a full feedback discussion will take place and plans made for the next session.
If you are able to drive regularly then the sessions can be a week or two apart. If you drive infrequently then the gap is longer so that you can practice any improvements identified.
Examiners will do their best to set you at your ease. They will expect your vehicle to appear roadworthy and the view through the windscreen and windows to be clear.
Before starting you should be prepared, if asked, to carry out or describe the daily or weekly checks that you do on your vehicle.
Shortly after moving off you should carry out a moving brake test if conditions permit. A brake check that tests the seatbelts is not necessary. He will consider the skills you demonstrate in the following areas:
This should be smooth, accurate and controlled. The examiner will watch how you use the steering wheel; your hand position and your method of steering. Although Roadcraft mentions rotational steering in certain circumstances, the preferred method is still pull/push and this will be expected by the examiner.
Your use of the clutch should be smooth showing good balance between clutch and accelerator. Double declutching is not necessary with modern cars but is perfectly acceptable. Sustained revs gear changing, when appropriate, will be appreciated by the examiner. You should not ride or slip the clutch.
The way you use the gears will tell the examiner a lot about your ability. He will consider the way you make the change, how you hold the gear lever, the way you match engine revolutions to road speed and the timing of your changes. Intelligent use of the intermediate gears is important as is the ability to omit them when appropriate. When changing gear the palm of the hand may be used to grip the ball of the gear lever and move it smoothly through the neutral gate into the required gear. The cupped palm can rotate slightly to move the gear lever through the neutral gate and reduce the likelihood of mis-selection. If you are tested on a vehicle with an automatic gearbox the examiner will watch your starting procedures and your use of 'kick-down'. He will also note if you override the transmission to keep the vehicle in a lower gear when appropriate. You should not use the automatic gearbox as a manual gearbox.
An important aspect of your driving which will play a large part in your final grading will be your use of the brakes. The examiner will expect smooth braking, applied in good time in one progressive application at the correct point within the system. The pedal pressure should be tapered off when unwanted speed is lost.
Do you use the accelerator correctly; firmly where it is needed, and precisely and controlled all the time? Do you display acceleration sense which is a hallmark of the accomplished driver? This is the ability to vary the speed of the vehicle in keeping with road and traffic conditions where braking is not needed. The examiner will look for power to be applied precisely, smoothly and progressively at the right time.
The examiner will note if you use the horn when necessary, with the appropriate length of note for the hazard, or if you use it aggressively. Although a horn warning may not be necessary during the test, movement to cover the horn or reference to it during commentary may indicate that its use was considered.
You will be expected to use the mirrors correctly in the correct sequence within the system but in addition you must have an accurate knowledge of what is happening behind you all the time.
The inside and outside of screens and windows should be clean, clear of mist and ice and swept of water so as not to inhibit your view. A candidate will not pass if owing to condensation or frost he or she peers through a small hole rubbed clear with the back of the hand. Proper use of the demisters, wipers and natural ventilation is essential.
Your moving off and stopping must be safe, smooth and precise. You should be aware of what is happening around you giving shoulder checks and signals as appropriate. Could you carry a bucket half full of water in the boot without spilling any?
The examiner will expect to see you demonstrate your understanding of the system so that your driving actions are always in the correct sequence. For example he will note if you apply the brakes before or after you change gear and if your signals are too early or too late. The use of the system as outlined in Roadcraft is the cornerstone of advanced driving and inconsistencies in its application will affect any grade awarded. To achieve a gold or silver standard you should apply the system consistently throughout the test. A bronze grade may be typified by inconsistencies in its application.
The examiner will note how you position your vehicle on the open road and on the approach to hazards such as junctions and roundabouts. Your use of lanes will be noted. You should be able to position the vehicle in order to obtain the best view that is available all the time. You should also understand that at times a position for view or speed will have to be sacrificed for the sake of safety. When you are driving round bends and corners, and not overtaking you should not cross marked centre lines and should not cut corners when entering marked junctions. RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders believe that to do so is potentially dangerous because such actions may be the result of entering the hazard too fast and may confuse oncoming and following drivers. This view is supported by The Highway Code. If anything untoward happened during such a manoeuvre the driver might be seen to be at fault and might then blame RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders for teaching or condoning this action. If there are no centre markings then some movement over the centre of the road may be acceptable.
It is again emphasised that the mark of an advanced motorist is always to be able to place the vehicle precisely where it belongs under all conditions and that it should be in the right place, travelling at the right speed and with the correct gear engaged.
The examiner will watch how you drive around corners and bends both in urban and rural areas. He will look at the line you take, does it give maximum view and safety margin? Does it allow you to compensate for oversteer or understeer? Was the speed chosen correct and were the controls used correctly? You will be expected to control your vehicle precisely so that you can stop on your own side of the road within the distance you can see to be clear.
You should regard signals as the language of the road. You will be expected to give signals correctly and in good time. They must indicate what you intend to do and not what you are doing. Where appropriate, you should back them with arm signals. The examiner will note whether you give signals which are unnecessary or misleading.
You will be asked to carry out a manoeuvre involving reversing. This must be done safely, competently and precisely. Stopping and realigning the vehicle so as not to strike the kerb may be acceptable.
Advanced drivers must demonstrate the ability to control their vehicles at speeds up to the legal limits where it is safe to do so. While the use of speed must always be safe and legal, the examiner will expect a brisk drive with good progress where possible. A driving plan that relies on exceeding the speed limit to complete a manoeuvre is unacceptable. If you consistently exceed the speed limit the examiner will stop the test and you will fail.
Overtaking manoeuvres are inherently dangerous but a necessary element of the concept of good progress. However they must be conducted safely and within the speed limit. Before you decide to overtake you should consider many safety factors but the main one is your ability to regain your correct position on the road before any approaching vehicles - seen or unseen - could come into conflict with you.
Examiners will expect you to overtake if it is appropriate but remaining in the overtaking position for long periods may indicate that you are not looking far enough ahead or may be interpreted as being aggressive. Exceeding the speed limit in order to overtake is unacceptable.
Deportment and conduct
The examiner will assess your temperament, concentration and your consideration for other road users. You should be positive, thoughtful and progressive yet disciplined and considerate in order to ensure safety. Creating too many opportunities for others to enter the flow of traffic may be appreciated but may adversely affect the opportunities to make progress during the test.
You should respect your vehicle and drive it in a way which will not abuse it or produce faults for future drivers. Harsh use of the controls or a failure to drive according to changes in road surface conditions may be penalised.
Advanced drivers will be expected to search for information in the near, middle and far distant views. They look for and see more than other drivers and so have more information on which to plan their driving. They will look ahead and cover a much wider field of view. They are always looking for clues to enable them to anticipate the actions of other road users.
The examiner will want to see evidence that you are doing this. Even in congested traffic advanced drivers will always be using observation to form a driving plan, looking far enough ahead so that they are not forced into an unplanned action or a move out of sequence in the system. It is not enough merely to acknowledge a change, but how this is being analysed and ordered in developing a driving plan.
If you wish to give a commentary the examiner will be pleased for you to do so though this is not essential. The examiner may ask you to think aloud for a few minutes and this will help him to judge your observation and planning.
The examiner will note your ability to judge distance and note whether you follow vehicles at a safe distance.
Motorways and Dual carriageways
Joining the motorway can be from either lane of the slip road and will depend on traffic conditions. The use of the different elevation of the slip road and the motorway may give a better view of the motorway. Acceleration sense should be used to achieve an appropriate merge speed. Speed and following distances should be appropriate for the conditions. When leaving the motorway the candidate should be in lane 1 before the 300 yards marker and, if necessary, signalling that intention.
To conclude the test the examiner will ask you questions on The Highway Code, and general motoring matters perhaps including knowledge of Roadcraft. There will be some questions on basic car mechanics. Your vehicle handbook should provide enough information to answer these questions.
"Advanced driving is the ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle safely, systematically and smoothly, using road and traffic conditions to progress unobtrusively with skill and responsibility. This skill requires a positive but courteous attitude and a high standard of driving competence based on concentration, effective all round observation, anticipation, and planning. This must be coordinated with good handling skills. The vehicle should be at the right place on the road at the right time, travelling at the right speed with the correct gear engaged and can always be stopped safely on its own side of the road in the distance that can be seen to be clear..." (DSA RoADA IAM 1997).
It is difficult to lay down precise specifications for the Association's three gradings, as it is very much a matter for the expertise and overall judgement of the examiner. It is important, however, to provide guidelines on how the various grades are determined to ensure consistency, understanding, and above all, confidence in the grading system.
The grade decided by the examiner will not be changed although any appeal will be reviewed by the Chief Examiner, who may offer a retest or comment in writing on any points raised.
Examiners operate under strict national guidelines to ensure that the Association's very high standards are maintained. The following guidelines about the requirements for each grade are intended to help you understand better the criteria applied when awarding a grade.
This grade is recognised as the highest driving award available to the public. It will be awarded only to the polished systematic driver, who displays a complete understanding and appropriate application of the principles outlined in Roadcraft. The candidate will display a confidence and ability throughout the whole test which leads the examiner to consider that, if given the opportunity the candidate has the potential with the basics already in place to do well on a police advanced course. The candidate's performance must be consistent throughout the whole of the test and so any lapses may result in a lower grade. Awards of this grade must therefore be reserved for the very best drivers.
This grade will be awarded to drivers who are well above the average. These drivers will produce consistently safe and systematic drives but perhaps without the final polish, flair and smoothness of the Gold driver. They will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the system of car control. Candidates must be able to drive up to the permitted speed limit where it is safe to do so but vary speed according to circumstances and conditions. It must be emphasised that Silver is an extremely high grade and a commendable achievement.
This grade will be awarded to drivers whose driving performance is significantly above the standard required to pass the 'L' driving test. These drivers will show a basic knowledge of Roadcraft but lack the ability to apply the system consistently throughout the test. The drive should be entirely safe, observing traffic signs, responding correctly to hazards and should display advanced driving techniques.
Candidates who fall below the minimum pass will be classified as 'fail'.
Once you have passed your test, you will be required to maintain your standard of driving by taking a re-test every three years – this is free to Members. When your retest is due we shall send you a reminder and booking form. You must take your retest within a reasonable time of the due date in order to keep your Membership.
Possible reasons for not passing the test or for a lower grade.
Drivers will fail if they display potentially dangerous faults, persistently infringe speed limits, commit violations of Road Traffic Law or the rules contained in The Highway Code. If the candidate fails to reach the pass standard, the examiner will offer advice on improvement and encourage further training or guidance from a local group.
Occasional minor infringements with a perceived acceptable reason should not result in failure on their own, but may be a reason for a lower grade. As a general rule, the examiner will consider whether the candidate is a driver worthy of displaying the badge of an advanced driver, i.e. someone who will consistently drive according to the principles of Roadcraft.
What to do if you fail?
If you fail your initial test you may take a re-test between three and six months later for which you will be expected to pay a fee. The cost for a re-test can be found here
If you wish to improve your standard we do suggest that you join a Local Group. You will then be in touch with other members who will advise and perhaps offer tuition.