The IAM’s Advanced Driving Test covers about 35 miles over a variety of roads. There are literally hundreds of test routes all over the country and of course quite a few starting from South East London and North West Kent!
The Test is conducted by examiners employed by the IAM all of whom have reached Police advanced level, as well as having considerable additional driving experience. Do not consider them as police officers however. Their aim is to give you an honest opinion of your driving competence, praising your good points and (as no-one is perfect) identifying any weaknesses.
The test usually lasts about two hours with about an hour and a half driving and half an hour debriefing. You will be given details of where to meet your examiner when your test is arranged. Try to arrive in good time and make sure the vehicle is in good condition, roadworthy, and that you have your driving documents.
If you have been prepared for the test by the Group, it is unlikely you will be asked to do anything that you did not expect. Just drive normally as you would when being accompanied by one of our observers. You may wish to give a short commentary over part of the test route although this is entirely up to you. The test route will normally cover fast two way roads, suburban areas, country lanes and motorways.
You will be expected to drive in a smooth and consistent manner that is safe, legal and progressive. You must drive by the principles of the Highway Code and comply with all legal requirements. The examiner obviously cannot condone any breaches of the law. You will be expected to demonstrate your ability to manoeuvre the vehicle safely (e.g. reverse parking, “three point” turn etc.).
Examiners are expected to be personable and supportive during your voluntary test and will be very aware of “exam nerves” (remember they have been there before too!). They will give you route instructions in good time but do ask if you are uncertain what they mean.
At the end of the test drive the examiner will tell you if you have met the standard required to be elected to the Institute as a full member. Even if you have been successful you are likely to find one or two points to concentrate on going forward. If you have fallen short of the standard, you will be told exactly why and given a written report to enable you to focus on and hopefully eradicate any shortcomings. In most cases those who fail apply to take the test again and pass second time.
It is often said that the most difficult part of the test is having someone sitting alongside you as you drive. With its structure of regular observed drives the Group tries to tackle this so that on the day you can give of your best.