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The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)

Discussion in 'Motors' started by Nazbit, 18 Jun 2006.

  1. Nazbit

    Mobster

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 3,870

    Hi all,

    I've been thinking about their advanced test for a while now, basically to improve the saftey of my driving and to have something to work towards.

    I know a few people on here have done it, what were your experiences? Was it worthwhile? How long did it take you? and what are the insurance discounts like?

    Also I cant see any requirements as far as being a certain age or having held a licence for a certain number of years goes, are there any such requirements?

    Cheers
     
  2. PeterNem

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Feb 2003

    Posts: 8,322

    Location: NJ/NY, USA

    Pretty sure that anyone who holds a full licence can do it, no restrictions on age or experience.

    Saitrix would be able to tell you more, as he passed the IAM test recently.
     
  3. Matthew.M

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,243

    Location: Birmingham

    I did it recently with saitrix. I thought it was very worth while, my observation is way better than it used to be and I seem to get better fuel economy from a better driving style. It also makes it easier to predict other drivers actions. Overall it's hard to put a finger on exactly whats improved I just feel that my entire driving is "better".

    It took me 5 observed runs to pass the test, that's including the run just before the test itself. But everyone is different so there's no set figure on how long it takes. I would guess it also depends on the observer you get (mine was VERY good).

    Insurance discounts - not worth bothering with, don't use this as a reason to do it or you'll probably be disappointed. Some insurance companies offer something stupid like 5% off and others nothing at all. I don't see the logic in this personally when the meaningless pass plus scheme gets huge discounts.

    You need to have held a full license for at least 3 months, and have 6 points or less IIRC to be able to take the test. I think it's 6 points anyway I can't remember exactly :o
     
  4. Goliath

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Aug 2003

    Posts: 2,139

    Location: The Republic

    I'm an observer for the Bolton group. The first thing you need to understand is that the groups are run as charitys, and as such the members give up their time for free. Because of this each group does things slightly differently, and the process I describe is only valid for some:

    The IAM Skill For Life package costs £85 (£75 if you are 25 or under). This covers a years membership of the IAM, your test fee, membership of your local group, and a number of textbooks. Once you purchase the package, you will be registered with your local group and they will contact you directly to arrange your start date etc. The practical driving sessions are free.

    At Bolton, we run a structured course that lasts a minimum of 8 weeks but more usually takes 12 weeks to complete. The sessions are run on Sunday morning, and consist of you driving your own car with an observer (different person each week) sitting in the passenger seat to provide guidance on your driving, the sessions typically last for two hours. The first four weeks of the course are used to teach you the fundamentals of the system of car control, steering, observation, road positioning etc and then you are taken for a demo drive on the 5th week, where an observer shows you how it all fits together. After this you are just on genreal practice drives until week 8 where you take a mock test. If you pass, you'll be put forward for the full advanced test.

    The only pre-requisite is that you hold a full UK license and have not been convicted of any serious driving offences (dangerous driving etc).

    Is it worth it? Yes, definitely. If you feel that driving is something you could improve at and are willing to learn then you will get a lot out of it. However, don't do it for the insurance discounts as they don't amount to much (5% if you're lucky) - a much better benefit is the 25% off AA membership.
    The main thing that the IAM try to teach is smooth, safe driving whilst making decent progress, to be honest the training on observation alone is worth the fee.

    The only thing i'd warn you about is that some groups are a little "backwards" - they tend to be looked after by archetypal "string-back gloves and flat cap" drivers. Find out how your local group does things before you sign up, if you don't like the sound of it there may a be a group a little further afield that will suit you more.
     
  5. saitrix

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

    Posts: 8,944

    Location: Loughborough

    I did mine with Matthew.M, both with the same observer at the same time. Found it good doing it together as we went in the back seat for each person's run so got to see more different situations.

    I also took 5 sessions to pass, we were lucky we got the observer we did. He was a laugh and got on with us well. Feel my observation is better now and i make better progress at the same time.

    I would really recommmend you to do it though, but don't do it for any discounts. Churchill didn't give me any reduction at all for IAM.

    Probably the best £75 i have spent on driving/my car.
     
  6. Nazbit

    Mobster

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 3,870

    Thanks for the replies.

    I didnt realise the insurance reductions would be that low, but then thats not what I wanted to do it for anyway, it was just an added bonus.

    I want a way to improve my driving and my observation and this seems like the best route to go down.

    You mention some of the groups are a bit dodgy? Can you join any one of them or does it have to be the closest one to you?

    Cheers
     
  7. saitrix

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

    Posts: 8,944

    Location: Loughborough

    Can be any one I think. Just don't have it too far away. ;)
     
  8. Goliath

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Aug 2003

    Posts: 2,139

    Location: The Republic

    It can be any group. The best thing to do is speak to the local groups near to you and find out how they run their sessions, and ask if you can pop down to one of them to see what it's like. Some groups assign a single observer to you (as in the case of Saitrix and Matthew.M) and some give you a different observer each week (the way my group runs things).
     
  9. saitrix

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

    Posts: 8,944

    Location: Loughborough

    Goliath,

    I liked the way mine did it as i accually got to know the guy in the end. Then after passing i was able to buy him a nice bottle of wine to say thats as he was always available for any advice etc. Also how do you go about becoming an observer?
     
  10. Goliath

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Aug 2003

    Posts: 2,139

    Location: The Republic

    It swings both ways, sometimes when you get assigned a single observer there's a personality clash and it all goes horribly wrong. The advantage (and disadvantage) of having multiple observers is they can all bring something different in terms of knowledge and experience, but this method does need a more structured session plan.

    Your local group will probably be more than happy to help you become an observer (they usually need all the help they can get). Again, it differs from group to group but at Bolton we run a failry intensive 8 week course for observers, which involves classroom sessions (roadcraft knowledge, guidance on controlling the sesssions etc) and being taken out with senior observers "pretending" to be associates. You then graduate to taking out real associates with a senior observer in the back etc.