The first year of being a newly qualified driver can be the most expensive as less experienced drivers are generally more likely to get into an accident than those with experience on the road. Although drivers who have just passed their driving test have learned how to safely drive on the road, they are not necessarily prepared for every eventuality on the road. So what can you do about this? New drivers can take additional driving qualifications such as the Pass Plus scheme to improve their skills on their road.
Find out more about the scheme and how it can impact your insurance premiums in this blog.
What is the Pass Plus scheme?
The Pass Plus scheme is a practical training course designed to improve drivers’ skills and safety. It is particularly useful for newly qualified drivers in order to improve confidence on the road. The scheme is a voluntary additional course, so although it targets drivers who have passed their driving test within the last year, anyone can take advantage of the scheme
Those who decide to take the course will be taught by a Pass Plus registered approved driving instructor (ADI). The course takes at least six hours to complete.
What does the course teach you?
The Pass Plus course consists of six modules covering driving:
- in town
- in all weathers
- on rural roads
- at night
- on dual carriageways
- on motorways
All modules should be practical sessions, but local conditions may make some of the modules theory-based. As a general rule, you’ll spend at least 5.5 hours driving.
1. Driving in town
Most drivers will spend a lot of their time driving in rural areas, so this is one of the most important modules in the course. The module involves hands-on urban driving and helps to improve drivers’ attention levels and competency. During the module, the driver will be required to tackle complex situations, including roundabouts, multi-lane junctions, trams, buses and cycle lanes, and driving under overpasses.
2. Driving in all weather conditions
Many people learn to drive over one or two seasons and may not have experience with driving in different weather conditions. This module sees drivers face rain, sleet, snow, ice, fog and bright sunlight. During the module, the driver will be required to tackle: skidding prevention, aquaplaning, correcting slow-speed skids, and braking on poor surfaces. The module also covers why stopping distances are reduced in bad weather.
3. Driving on rural roads
This module aims to prepare drivers for driving on rural roads. The module aims to improve your foresight and help you predict potential hazards. During the module, the course covers what you should do when you encounter horse riders, pedestrians and cyclists, sharp bends, entrances to farms and buildings, livestock and debris. It will also teach you how to identify safe passing places.
4. Driving at night
As a newly qualified driver, you might not have had to deal with nighttime driving before, which can mean that taking to the roads after dark is a daunting task. This module helps you get to grips with driving in the dark.
During this part of the course, you’ll be required to understand how to use your headlights correctly in dark conditions, how to adjust to different levels of light, how to get used to being dazzled by other drivers, and how to judge speed and distance at night.
5. Driving on dual carriageways
Although learner drivers are likely to gain experience on dual carriageways before they pass their driving test, it’s likely that are aspects of driving were given priority while you were learning. This part of Pass Plus helps you gain experience on dual carriageways.
The module focuses on how to join and leave the dual carriageway via slip roads, how to make observations of surrounding vehicles and potential hazards, how to judge distances, as well as lane discipline and overtaking.
6. Driving on motorways
Although you likely gained some experience on motorways while you learned to drive, this module helps you gain more experience and confidence.
During the module, you’ll learn about: how to set safe speeds, managing motorway fatigue, how to deal with debris and crosswind, how to follow signs, signals and markings, how to improve your observation skills, and what to do in the event you breakdown on the motorway.
Is there a Pass Plus test?
The course does not feature a test. Instead, you’re assessed throughout the course. In order to pass and gain the Pass Plus certificate, you’ll have to prove to your driving instructor that you meet the required standards for each module.
When should Pass Plus be taken?
The Pass Plus scheme can be taken by anyone who has passed their practical driving test. However, the course will most likely benefit those who have recently passed their test – within the first year of passing – as it is structured to boost confidence and ability.
How do I get my Pass Plus certificate?
If you’ve passed the Pass Plus qualification, you’ll need to apply for your Pass Plus certificate by reaching out to the DVSA’s Pass Plus team. You’ll likely need to show the training report form from your driving instructor to the team in order to prove that you managed to reach the required standard in all modules. This is the form that you and your instructor must sign at the end of the course.
Does Pass Plus reduce insurance?
Yes, taking the Pass Plus course can help reduce your insurance premiums. This can be particularly effective for new or young drivers who tend to face high insurance premiums in the first couple of years of passing.
How much does Pass Plus reduce insurance by?
Those who take and pass the Pass Plus course can get fairly big reductions in their insurance premiums. For instance, at Adrian Flux, we’re able to offer up to 25% off your premiums if you’re eligible for the Pass Plus insurance discount. You’ll need to have proof that you’ve completed the course – this is usually in the form of a Pass Plus certificate.
How much is the Pass Plus course?
Prices for Pass Plus vary depending on where you live, as well as the driving instructor and driving school you choose. This is much like regular driving lessons, where the cost of learning to drive differs dramatically depending on your region. For instance, lessons in London could cost around £40 an hour, meaning the course could cost around £240 altogether, whereas other regions in the UK are often cheaper at around £25-£35 per lesson, which would equate to £125 to £210 for the whole course.
Pass Plus Cymru, on the other hand – i.e. Wales’s Pass Plus course – has been subsidised with a road safety grant from the Welsh government and costs just £20 for the complete course.
Is Pass Plus worth it?
If you’re not feeling 100% confident after passing your driving test about driving alone without your driving instructor, the Pass Plus qualification is a great way of gaining extra experience on the roads with a qualified instructor. This can help prepare you to drive by yourself.
Whether the Pass Pass insurance discount is worth you completing the course will depend on how much Pass Plus costs to complete in your area. For instance, if you live in Wales where you can complete the qualification for just £20, and the course is able to discount your insurance premiums by 25%, this might be worth it. However, you might find that if you live in other parts of the UK where the course isn’t subsidised, it doesn’t work out as cost effective to complete the course.
In addition to this, the Pass Plus insurance discount can vary depending on your own situation, so it might be worth getting in touch with us to find out how much you could save by completing the course before you start it.
Get affordable new driver insurance with Adrian Flux
If you’ve recently completed the Pass Plus qualification, you’ll be pleased to know we can offer up to 25% off your insurance premiums. And even if you’ve decided not to take the Pass Plus course, we offer affordable black box insurance for new drivers, which can reduce your renewal premiums by up to 60%. Just give us a call on 0800 369 8590 for an insurance quote or request a free callback at a time that suits you.