The Pass Plus Course in Driver Development

The Pass Plus course in Driver Development

After completing driving lessons in Nottingham and passing the DSA driving test almost all drivers regard this as the end of their training. Pass Plus offers an opportunity to further develop driving skills and counteract one of the biggest safety issues facing young drivers - inexperience. This article takes a closer look at the content of Pass Plus and looks at why it makes good sense to gain experience in the winter months as part of an approved training course.

The Pass Plus course divides driver training into modules so that different environments and conditions can be looked at in isolation and hazards particular to these environments dealt with more thoroughly than was possible when preparing for the standard driving test. A new driver may not be familiar with motorway driving at all as it is illegal for unqualified drivers to use a motorway even when accompanied. A newly qualified driver who lives in a city may have never driven on rural roads and would thus have no experience of the dangers that this type of road presents. In the winter months both Motorways and rural roads can prove very hazardous and would be better introduced as part of the Pass Plus course.

Most learners will have done some of the type of driving required in the Town Driving module, but there is still scope for hazard awareness skills to be developed. Driving in a really busy city is far more demanding and if these skills are still in their infancy then it is easy for a new driver to become overloaded with information which leads to a feeling of being overwhelmed, or simply ignoring the information and relying on luck to get through. Drivers can become aggressive when dealing with situations they are are not prepared for, such as multi-lane junctions, bus and tram lanes, unusual roundabouts and high traffic density, which have not been covered sufficiently in a normal course of lessons.

All weather driving would probably be a theory module as it is impossible to plan what the weather would be on the training day. As snow has become a more regular feature there is more scope for training in wintry conditions. On the pass plus course the theory would cover causes, prevention and correcting of low speed skids as well as braking in poor conditions. The Pass Plus course would be better taken in the winter months as there would be a greater chance of adverse weather conditions occurring during the drive.

Rural roads can be a challenge for the new driver. The much narrower lanes and restricted site lines can be unnerving as oncoming traffic seems dangerously close which leads to steering too far to the left or swerving. Speed on bends tends to be too high given that the driver can't see very far ahead, resulting in surprise and hurried reactions to hazards. This is a module that would greatly benefit the new driver as many hazards are unique to rural roads such as livestock, slow moving farm vehicles, horse riders and pedestrians walking in the road. In winter, when the roads are slippery with rain, mud and fallen leaves the road surface can cause serious problems to the handling of the car. Driver training can be invaluable in preparing new drivers for these conditions. Driving in country roads can be very enjoyable when advice from a trainer is available during the drive.

Night driving may also be a theory module on the Pass Plus course, depending upon the time of year. People who learned during the summer may have never driven in the dark prior to taking their test, in which case taking the Pass Plus course later in the year would make it of greater benefit as it is dark in the early evening. Lack of vision and glare from oncoming headlights are the immediate dangers for the new driver and can take some time to get used to. Glare can easily mask vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians especially in the rain. It can be reassuring to deal with these conditions for the first time as part of the Pass Plus course.

Dual carriageways should be covered in a normal course of lessons if available and are included in test routes so chances are most people would be familiar with the them to some extent. Joining and leaving at slip roads, lane discipline and overtaking should all be covered on higher speed dual carriageways.

Possibly the most important part of the Pass Plus course is Motorway driving. The number of lanes, high speeds and volume of traffic can be daunting for a new driver. Lane discipline and overtaking are definitely best taught as part of a professional training course. In winter when roads are wet the spray thrown up by large vehicles can be blinding and when combined with headlights in dark conditions these can be the most challenging conditions a driver has to face. An approved training course is essential to introduce new drivers to motorway driving.

There is much to be gained from a winter Pass Plus course. As well as savings with some insurance companies, the experience gained will be a great start to your driving career. More info at