The Advanced Driving Instructors Book of Lesson Plans

©2013  Professor  Peter Russell

This book has been written to fill a remarkable gap in the market place. 

There are many books on learning to drive,  quite a number on being and advanced driver, but no comprehensive training manual for those who wish to teach every stage of advanced driving.

The book was originally written for the triple purposes of

  • creating a staff-training manual for use by UNIVERSAL DRIVER TRAINING of Camberley;
  • as a general Advanced Driver Assessment & Training Manual for all first class professional Driving Coaches and Mentors; and
  • as part of the course work in preparation for a Master of Arts Degree in Advanced Driver Education through The National Centre for Work Based Learning Partnerships, at Middlesex University in 1993-97.

The Book covers a whole range of driver training lessons and exercises. Instructors are advised to select appropriate training programmes from the various sections and to use them, in the classroom or in the vehicle according to the needs of their students.

Original Copyright  © 1995            Peter Russell,
Manor Heights,
32B Thorold Road,
Bitterne Park,
Tel 02380  582480    Mob  07818034536




Although for the purposes of selling training courses to companies, the clients will usually decide their own training package, it is essential that everything is kept as simple as possible. To this end there are three separate, but similar, practical Training Courses based on the principles of Advanced driving. These are:-


In principle the differences between them are as follows:

DEFENSIVE DRIVER TRAINING can be considered to be the fine tuned version of Advanced driving.  Clients will be taught all the advanced driving principles, in depth, with the addition of being given instruction on how to use skilled observation to keep away from other people's accidents.  At the end of this course, company motorists will be able to drive much more safely than they did before.  They will recognise and put into practice all the safe driving principles of the HMSO ROADCRAFT book, as amplified in the DSA's DRIVING manual.  They should also be capable of passing any of the three recognised Advanced Driving Tests; IAM,  RoSPA and DIAmond.

EXTENDED DRIVER TRAINING is used to raise the basic driving skills of those full licence holders who have not had a great deal of driving experience after passing their L driving test, or who have not yet reached a standard acceptable to their employers or insurers.   At the end of their training all course members should be confident to drive on all kinds of roads, and in all types of traffic conditions.  They will also benefit from taking a Defensive Driver training course in the near future.

ECO EFFICIENT DRIVER TRAINING is ideal for those companies who have expressed a wish to save on their general motoring expenses, with special emphasis on fuel saving.   This training can be given to drivers of any standard.     At the end of this course all drivers must be able to demonstrate an ability to save at least 15% in fuel consumption by means of smoother and more economical driving practices.  Further savings would also be made in other areas of safe and courteous driving.

All Defensive Driving Courses begin with

Although there are different points to be noted, there will be little external difference between the various initial assessments regardless of the course being offered.  However the minimum acceptable standards for each course may vary to suit the course and the client.   There are no pass or fail marks, of course, simply deviations from whatever standard of perfect drive has been determined.  All assessments must be discussed with the driver, and where necessary a written copy provided for the company, or whoever is paying for the training and testing.

Each driver will be tested in their own vehicle for a minimum period of about 40 minutes.   In that time the Trainer will make a professional assessment of the driver's weaknesses and potential for improvement.  The most obvious place to start, although this is not necessarily spelt out to the client, is the L Driving Test, but adapted to an experienced driver.  In all cases the gradings given to the clients will be E.G.A.P.U. And in each case “average” will be set at no serious or dangerous errors and no more than six minor errors - or two minor errors in one box.  
E = Excellent;  G = Good;  A = Average;  P = Poor;  U = Unacceptable

For DEFENSIVE DRIVER TRAINING COURSES the marking sheet is headed:

Quite a lot depends on this initial assessment as the training which follows will be based on what is seen.  It will probably take some time for the candidate to relax and drive naturally, and it is in the natural drive that the real driving standards will best be noted.   Many clients will be ill at ease initially, and it is for this reason that Trainers are advised not to fill in too many items on the marking sheet.  Similarly it should not be necessary for Trainers to spend a great deal of time on parking and Manoeuvring skills, unless these show up as a genuine weakness.   

The drive starts with directions to “follow the road ahead unless traffic and road signs say differently”, or you tell them to turn or pull in.   You should try to avoid using obvious DSA Driving Test vocabulary, although you should also avoid any  distracting and unnecessary conversation.   Stay polite and friendly.   Make them realise you are on their side.   Sound official, but avoid being officious.

The test itself will be as standardised (certainly within any company training scheme) as possible.  Clearly defined areas of testing and training must be adhered to, and a professional image presented to all clients.  This includes both staff who are being tested and trained, and also those who are responsible for paying the bills.  Customer satisfaction cannot be achieved at the expense of pedantic rules.  On the other hand, sound basic safe driving principles are essential.  The real skill of the advanced driver trainer is to be able to present a polished performance which achieves the stated aims of the course.  The aim is always to make company drivers become better drivers, by wanting to become so.

The sections to be covered during a Defensive Driving Assessments are:

Deportment The aim is to see relaxed concentration.  This means that the body looks and feels comfortable.  The hands are correctly positioned on the wheel, and the elbows and knee joints are not awkwardly placed.   The bottom should be pressed firmly into the seat, and all seat adjustments should appear to be suitable.   Seat adjustments should never be made on the move.

Use of Controls  Fluency of movement, coupled with correct sequences and procedures, are needed.  Excessive acceleration or braking argue lack of planning.  Late, or unnecessary, gear changes suggest a lack of vehicle understanding.  Heavy footedness does not necessarily mean lack of skill; but you may need to teach the secrets of finesse at a later stage.  A really skilful driver uses the minimum of effort to achieve total control of the vehicle at all times. 

Approach to crossroads    The whole art of safe driving is usually summed up
and junctions    in the way that crossroads and junctions are approached and coped with.  A properly planned approach is essential - and should be used for every hazard, not just junctions and turnings.  One of the common weaknesses of many drivers is an inability to put a safe plan of action into operation automatically and decisively.

General Observation Proper planning needs forward observation combined with intelligent interpretation of what has been seen.  You will need to watch where your client's eyes are looking, and to confirm that the client takes appropriate action on what has been seen.

Making headway and   There is a fine line between driving too fast for the
Keeping to speed limits   conditions, and too slowly.  Ideally your client should not hold up other road users, especially following traffic; but should not do so at the expense of driving too fast for the conditions, or the speed limit for that particular road.  

Manoeuvring skills    Although it is not essential to make Manoeuvring a substantial part of the test, parking using reverse exercises can be brought into the assessment naturally.  A reverse park at a suitable spot, or parking in reverse in a car parking bay will normally suffice.  If your clients are obviously uncertain of their Manoeuvring skills, then it may be necessary to test these exercises specifically and to give additional training away from other traffic.

General Reactions   You are looking for a good safe drive.  You need something on which to build, and your overall impressions will indicate whether they are concentrating on the driving task, properly and sufficiently far ahead. They ought to be planning at least five seconds ahead at all times.