Pass plus

Firstly, allow me to introduce the pass plus to you. It’s a six hour course covering six modules, each module lasting one hour. The idea is to build confidence in areas learners don’t normally get too much experience in – all weather driving, motorways, dual carriageways, rural roads, ETC.

I tend to do all modules in one six hour block, A six hour lesson will provide you with a different driving experience to your pre-test lessons and challenge your skills to a much greater extent than breaking them down into shorter lessons. Also, the driving you’re doing will include motorways and dual carriageways, and most of the time when you’re driving on these roads, you will be driving for more than an hour. Also, I can work in breaks and talk about the importance of taking breaks on long journeys. The pass plus can be so much more than these basic modules. Seeing as its post-test, When conducting a pass plus I find it very helpful for student’s to experience many things they would encounter when driving alone that they have not encountered pre-test, for example, I encourage pupils to bring a CD or we listen to the radio for a portion of the time, and navigate using a sat-nav. I know these are distractions, but that simulates post-test driving better, as usually post-test you’ll be listening to music and using a sat nav, so better to learn how to do this safely.

After the course, people generally feel a lot more confident, and are much safer drivers, so that’s the main reason to do one, instead of saving money.

When I learnt to drive, insurance companies gave discounts to drivers that had done a pass plus, as they were less likely to claim. This made it a brilliant system – young drivers doing pass plus courses to save money, then insurance companies saving money through fewer insurance claims – a real win-win situation.

When I was 17, after my driving test, I did a pass plus course. I did it for one reason, and one reason only – to save money on insurance. My premium was £1,350 for third party only a year on a 1.1 Fiesta (nowadays it would be higher). I saved 30% off my premium, £405, which was great, seeing as the course only cost me £100 (I think it was about that, it was a long time ago!). I remember most of my friends doing pass plus courses for the same reason.

Last year, we didn’t do many pass plus courses. I did one all year. We were charging £170 for the course, reasonable if you were saving £400+, but many insurers have stopped recognising the course, and therefore no discounts;  which I think it’s counter-productive, because if they don’t give discounts then people won’t do them, which makes them more likely to crash, which makes insurance companies more likely to have to pay out.

Now, we’re charging £100 for the course. We’re charging less because you’ll be saving less from the insurance company. Personally, I’m happy to make less money off them to make the roads safer.

I think they’re a brilliant thing to do, as they really equip a new driver with all the skills they don’t get under normal learning circumstances.


James Richards, ADI