Driving is a skill used daily by many, some are good drivers, some not so and a few are dangerous. For me ‘Advanced’ driving is how we should all drive, all of the time, but realistically this is difficult.
Getting from A-B is most people’s target whilst driving, and it is mine too, to better yourself it is how you get there. Above all was the drive safe? The surprising thing is how many driver’s cannot simply do this? So what do I mean safe?
How risky was the drive? Were you fit to drive? Is your car in good safe order? This is commonly the first downfall, are your tyres legal? Are your windows clear? Are your lights working?
If your car is always safe, you check it regularly and you only drive when you are fit to do so you are halfway there. The driving itself is often unsafe through legalities, when did you last read the highway code, or refer to it? Could you always stop easily without drama? If you are an Advanced driver this is the foundations of the drive.
Moving on a ‘systematic’ drive should always be part of been an advanced driver. What is systematic? Are you using Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre, or the system ‘Information, Position, Speed Gear Acceleration’, Taking, using an giving information? This is all about been able to deal with situations on the road without any problems, loss of control and in a timely manner. This takes practice and is part of building good habits, not bad, ensuring you get everything done in good time under full control. It’s also about how you interact with other road users, safely and with plenty of space to react, been observant and aware. Anything less at any point, any lack of concentration or focus, is not ‘Advanced’, albeit easy to fall into unconscious and autonomous driving, as most do daily without thought.
The polish on top of been safe and systematic is been Smooth. It is very rare I see smooth driving, but this shows that the driving is planning ahead, can control the vehicle and is less likely to cause an incident to take place. It makes the drive, not only smoother for passengers, but also more economical. Braking without jerks, early and progressive the same with the accelerator and steering. This is less likely to cause a skid too if you are smoother and with stability.
Finally often confused by most people when entering the world of ‘Advanced Driving’ is Progressive. This means keeping up with the flow of traffic, not been at all hesitant and to use the performance of car safely. Most take this as ‘we can floor it’, or we can drive over the speed limit. Which is not the case, of course this does not keep the drive ‘safe. Therefore its about balance and judgement of the situation, if the road is dry and clear with a national speed limit, good progress should be made. If the conditions are poor, and situation has many hazards the speed should reflect this whilst keeping up with the flow of the traffic. This takes practice and good judgement, and even the best drivers get this wrong.
Think you’ve got what it takes? Give it a go….. contact RoSPA for their advanced training and tests.