Advanced Driving, Defensive Driving and Road Safety

Definition and Background

Advanced Driving has been described as: “The ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle safely, systematically and smoothly, using road and traffic conditions to make reasonable progress unobtrusively, with skill and responsibility. The skill requires a positive but courteous attitude and a high standard of driving competence based on concentration, effective all round observation, anticipation and planning. This must be coordinated with good handling skills. The vehicle should always be at the right place on the road at the right time, travelling at the right speed with the correct gear engaged and can always be stopped safely in the distance that can be seen to be clear.”

Driver instructors across the globe aim to raise driving standards by increasing the competence of drivers. Even though most drivers think they are both safer and more skilful than the average driver, in 95% of accidents human error, mainly unsafe driving practices, is the major cause. Advanced Driving Courses and Tests were designed to contribute to road safety and reduce the likelihood of an accident. By working on the skills of drivers, these drivers re-evaluate their ability to spot hazards early and this leads to safer driving. Advanced drivers are also less prone to the frustrations that lead to road rage.

Many drivers have a false sense of comfort after many years’ experience at the wheel. Research has indicated that drivers might even get measurably worse over time and advanced driver training might add to more road safety awareness. This awareness is not restricted to just other road users, road conditions, and infrastructure, but the “joining up” of these elements into an overall understanding of their meaning in terms of potential hazards and the appropriate driver response.

Advantages of Advanced Driving Training for Road Safety

The most important advantages of Advanced Driver Training are:

  • It makes motorists better, safer and more competent drivers
  • Drivers will be more confident as their driving will be safer and more systematic.
  • Reduced motoring costs with less wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Usage of the brakes, clutch, gears will be smooth and in sync with the car, and the road
  • Possible lowering of insurance premiums 
  • Reduced levels of driving stress 
  • Improved fuel consumption

Advanced Driving skills, techniques and requirements

Driving Organizations and Training Facilities might differ in the way that they approach advanced driver training. Some might decide to facilitate training across different roads, from quiet roads to busy town and city centres – whereas others might limit the focus on training in a more controlled environment.

What can the driver expect?

  • There may be situations where the candidate can show flair and panache on an open country road where progress can be gained at maximum safety, using optimum road positioning and excellent observation
  • In other situations, the candidate will need to show restraint and composure to deal with tricky hazards that may become apparent throughout the drive. Such as in a town centre situation, where observation is used to pick out hazards in situations that are constantly changing. 
  • The main objective is that the candidate has to perform well in all situations rather than excel in one.

What might the Instructor expect the outcome to be?

  • Safety - Even where optimum progress may be desirable, position and speed must always be put aside and sacrificed for safety. 
  • Systematic driving – Driving by using skills to deal with any environment or situation, in enough time to decide on the best position, speed and gear of the vehicle to negotiate hazards safely. 
  • Smoothness - The vehicle should be stable with little bounce or roll on the road and any passengers should be comfortable in the vehicle and have the utmost confidence in the driver's ability. Nothing the driver does should look or feel rushed or hurried, resulting in an economical use of fuel as well. 
  • Progress – This is understood to be the ability to make good progress when safe to do so and is an important skill that an advanced driver should possess. 
  • Restraint - The ability to recognize when to hold back from particular hazards to ensure the safety and reassurance of passengers and other road users, or to avoid causing others concern, even if this concern may be unjustified.

Police Drivers in the UK involved in traffic enforcement have to undergo advanced driver training. The techniques these police drivers must complete to pass their test include:

  • Starting and Stopping Drills 
  • Introduction to Commentary 
  • The system of Car Control 
  • Gear Changing Technique 
  • Steering Technique 
  • Manoeuvrability Training 
  • Skid Correction Training 
  • Positioning 
  • Principles of Safe Cornering 
  • Cornering Position Advantages 
  • Assessment of Corners 
  • Half Distance Acceleration 
  • Acceleration Sense 
  • Braking Sense 
  • Overtaking Technique 
  • Manoeuvrability and Skid Correction Tests


The Arrive Alive Road Safety Website would like to urge all drivers to consider advanced driver training to improve their safety on the road. There are many benefits to such training and these benefits will add up to a much more enjoyable drive. Not boring, or slow, but quite often more swift, progressive and certainly more exhilarating than your average everyday driver!

Also View:

Defensive Driving and Making Roads Safer

Bad Driving Habits and Unsafe Driving

Safe Driving After an Extended Break from Driving

Driver Instructor Advice for Safety on the Road

Driver Instructor Insight

Toyota Advanced 4x4 Training Programme