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Skill for life

If asked to rate your driving would you say ‘satisfactory, but could do better’?

If asked to rate your driving would you say ‘satisfactory, but could do better’?

When I retired some four years ago, I asked myself that question, and gave the answer ‘satisfactory but could probably do a lot better’. I had often though about advanced driving, so now with time available, I decided to contact The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) who put me in touch with my local group - Solihull Advanced Motorists (SAM).

I enrolled on one of their courses and attended five theory sessions held over four weeks in the evening at Solihull Civic Centre.

At the same time I was allocated an observer who accompanied me on what are called observed drives, giving me guidance (to get rid of my 40 years of bad habits) in preparation for my advanced drivers test.

After six or seven observed drives I was nearing ‘test ready’ and was duly examined by an IAM examiner, I passed and became a full member.

Having achieved this new status, what were the benefits? In a leaflet published by the IAM it suggests that ‘nearly 70 per cent of drivers who receive advanced driving coaching showed significantly safer skills in a number of areas’.

Also the leaflet suggests:

a) Advanced drivers can enjoy lower insurance costs.

b) Drive smoother, use less fuel and save wear and tear on tyres and other components.

c) They are less likely to incur penalty points and fines.

The benefits could cover the cost of the course.

My personal experience is that the above benefits are achievable, and driving is now enjoyable and less stressful even on today’s busy roads.

Also, (and perhaps very importantly), my wife is much happier with my driving than she was in my pre-IAM days.

Just a thought as Christmas is coming, how about giving a ‘Skill for Life’ course as a present to a loved one, to perhaps ensure their presence for many more years to come. IAM website can be found at

A Hastewell, Bracebridge Close, Balsall Common



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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