Spend £149 on an advanced driving course – and save money
In the week, the rules of the road are overhauled… Spend £149 on an advanced driving course – and save money
Congratulations… you made it.’ It took me hours of driving lessons to hear those words of welcome, but I’ve now passed the advanced IAM RoadSmart test – just in time for new traffic laws introduced yesterday which place new demands on motorists.
Spending £149 on more driving lessons when I got my license 30 years ago might seem like an unnecessary indulgence. But getting that new qualification might be one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
Learning these lessons could reduce the cost of my car insurance by up to 10% – or at least soften the blow of rising premiums in the market. The skills I learned should also help me reduce my automobile costs through smoother driving and, knock on wood, reduce my risk of being involved in an accident.
Quick learner: Toby Walne with his Lotus Elise was helped by instructor John Oakley
By driving more smoothly, you can cut fuel consumption by a quarter by using your gears correctly and avoiding hard throttle and braking at intersections. The average car makes 40 miles per gallon (8.8 miles per liter) and travels 7,400 miles per year. Driving more safely can cut your annual fuel bill by £300.
Improved driving skills are invaluable to even the most experienced motorist.
I have been driving the country roads of Hertfordshire and Essex for the past few months with an instructor from IAM RoadSmart who run the advanced car driving test. Instructor John Oakley helped me improve my driving skills.
In recent years, the number of cyclists has exploded on our roads, as have the number of joggers with headphones who can ignore road users around them.
A few days ago, I met him after passing my exam to get his opinion on the implications of the new highway code.
The code now gives priority to pedestrians and cyclists over cars. Motorists must give priority to pedestrians at intersections. If a pedestrian wants to cross, the driver must stop the car.
Cyclists will often be able to stay in the middle of a lane to ensure they are visible and have at least 1.5 meters of space when passed. John says: “As a driver, it’s all about observation, anticipation and planning. It is essential to anticipate to avoid a possible accident.
Unfortunately, while the changes to the code have noble intentions, the reality is that one in 25 motorists say they won’t follow the new rules.
Advanced driving lessons help you control your emotions behind the wheel and ensure that your driving style is not compromised by other drivers, pedestrians or cyclists. For example, when a driver ahead suddenly stops at a clear roundabout or you tailgate. John says: “If you enjoy driving, you’re much more likely to improve – and not let other people’s bad habits stress you out.
“When you feel more in control because you observe and anticipate, the driving experience becomes a real pleasure.”
During class, John sat next to me and patiently gave me suggestions. He taught me the car control system used by the police and remembered by the acronym IPSGA – information, position, speed, speed and acceleration.
After the initial embarrassment of not knowing what the national speed limit is on roads without signs – usually 60 miles per hour – John instilled in me habits to overcome an overly cautious approach to roundabouts and speed changes unnecessary, so my driving would become smoother and more controlled.
He also shared practical advice, such as looking for church spiers in the distance, as this indicates there is likely a village and a speed limit change ahead.
Trash cans to pick up could mean pedestrians and trucks are nearby, while a cyclist in lycra could indicate others lurking around the corner, especially on weekends when cycling clubs flood our streets. roads.
I feel well prepared to take up the challenge of the new highway code. Although the lessons were a success for my stressed finances, I consider the £149 well spent.
FOUR OTHER WAYS TO REDUCE THE COST OF THE AUTOMOBILE
1. Install a “black box” telematics device in your car to monitor driving. This can reduce insurance premiums by 25%, with young drivers benefiting the most.
The device is usually located under the dashboard and monitors speed and any sudden movement of the steering wheel.
The cost of the box and installation is often included in the insurance. Premiums are lower as it encourages safer driving.
2. Install a dash cam in your car. This can reduce insurance premiums by ten percent. It’s a small camera that records what’s happening in front of you – usually running on a one-hour loop.
If you’re involved in an accident, this can help with a claim – especially if it’s not your fault.
3. Check comparison websites such as GoCompare, comparethemarket, Uswitch, and MoneySuperMarket for the best insurance deals.
Insurers are now prohibited from charging existing customers more than new ones, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get the best deal if you stick around or don’t haggle with your provider.
4. Shop around for fuel. You can save over 20p per liter buying from a supermarket rather than driving to a motorway service station – that’s £12 for a 60 liter tank.
Use a free app like PetrolPrices to find the cheapest near you or on a route you plan to take. The RAC ‘fuel watch’ average is £1.46 per liter for unleaded – £1.50 for diesel.
SAVE MONEY ON AUTOMOTIVE