There are many different opinions about whether it is worth completing a Pass Plus course. The course is optional and was introduced by the Driving Standards Agency (also known as the DSA) in 1995. The aim of the course is to give new drivers more experience in different situations that they may not have come across in their driving lessons or test.
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It hopes to improve their anticipation and alertness, along with the development of new skills and techniques.
What Is Pass Plus?
Pass Plus is a course that has to be carried out by an Approved Driving Instructor (also called an ADI) who has been registered to complete Pass Plus training. The cost can vary, typically working out at £100 – £150 for 6 sessions that last an hour each. The minimum time that can be spent working on Pass Plus is 6 hours.
There are 6 modules to complete when taking the Pass Plus course:
- Driving in town areas
- Driving in different weather conditions
- Driving out of town
- Driving during the dark⁄night time
- Driving on dual carriageways
- Driving on motorways
Some of these areas may only be covered in theory (for example, driving in different weather conditions and driving at night). Motorway driving may be done in theory if there is no motorway nearby. Theory will only be used if a practical session is not possible.
There is no exam to sit when completing a Pass Plus course. A certificate is given when the instructor is happy with how competent the driver is. The only requirement is that they can drive safely and legally.
So Is It Worth It?
The value of Pass Plus depends on the driver, their needs and experiences. If you are not a confident driver and feel that you could benefit from having a trained professional assist you with other sorts of driving, such as using motorways, then it may be worth considering taking the course.
Pass Plus is often marketed on the idea that it will reduce the cost of your car insurance. This is often not the case as very few insurance companies take part in this scheme so it isn’t worth completing the course for this reason. You may get a discount, but the likelihood is that you won’t.
The director of policy and research at IAM, Neil Greig, explained the reason for this: “The problem with offering incentives for advanced driver training courses it that there are never enough hard statistics for the big insurers to get on–board. Insurers ideally want to see years of data proving that drivers who took a particular course, such as the Pass Plus, have fewer accidents.”
He added: “They would then be able to offer discounts based on the facts that drivers with this particular driver training are a safer risk. So no–one has done this research, which is why so few insurers offer a Pass Plus discount.”
The most common way for younger drivers to cut the cost of their insurance is to opt for a telematics scheme, which is sometimes called “black box technology”.