Introduced 20 years ago to help improve the skills of drivers who had just passed their tests. But how does Pass Plus work and is it worth the money?
Passing your driving test should be the first step on the road to a lifetime of stress-free motoring.
But the theory and practical elements only ensure you know the basics.
You won’t be prepared for every challenge on the road – even if you've clocked up the average 45 hours of instruction and 20 hours of practice. One way to hone your skills is through the Pass Plus scheme.
But is Pass Plus worth it? We'll look at what the Pass Plus scheme involves and whether it can mean discounted car insurance premiums.
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What is the Pass Plus scheme?
It’s a practical training course that takes at least six hours to complete. The aim is to help drivers to improve their skills and become safer on the road.
The six modules will cover driving:
In all weathers
On rural roads
On dual carriageways
You don’t take a test but are assessed throughout. To pass you’ll need to reach the required standard in all modules.
Chances are you’ll be spending a lot of your driving life navigating our busy towns. Improving your observational skills is useful, especially how to keep an eye on buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
The experience of driving in pouring rain is obviously different from bright sunshine. Similarly, driving in rain or hailstones for the first time can be unnerving.
The countryside offers its own challenges. Narrow lanes, mud on the roads, tractors and animals suddenly appearing make it particularly risky for new drivers.
Statistics show that driving at night - with reduced visibility - can be one of the most dangerous times of the day to be on the road, especially for newly qualified drivers.
Being confident in joining and leaving the carriageway via slip roads, as well as keeping a safe distance and knowing the right way to overtake, are all essential.
Learner drivers have been able to take motorway driving lessons with an approved instructor since June 2018. But you probably haven’t spent much time on them – if any at all.
When can you take the Pass Plus scheme?
You can take it any time after passing your driving test. However, it’s most useful in the first year of driving as this is when the chance of crashing is at its highest.
Who will teach you on the Pass Plus scheme?
You'll need a Pass Plus-registered driving instructor to teach you. You can check the GOV.UK website to find a driving school near you.
Is Pass Plus worth it?
One of the main draws of the Pass Plus Scheme is the discounted car insurance premiums. But insurers don’t always offer a discount for drivers who have completed the Pass Plus scheme.
The Pass Plus Scheme should be seen as a way to improve your driving more than anything else.
It’s a good way to bridge the gap between having an instructor – or supervising driver – in the passenger seat and being in the car on your own.
You’ll have extra time behind the wheel with a qualified instructor who can offer advice. You’ll also practice driving at different times of the day - you might have only done this a handful of times in your driving lessons.
While Pass Plus isn’t a fast track to cheaper premiums, you might feel confident enough after the course to get a black box fitted.
This monitors your driving and shows insurers how and when you drive so you can get a more accurate car insurance premium.
How much does it cost?
This varies depending on where you live. However, a broad estimate is between £150 and £200 for the entire course. Some local councils offer discounts so it’s worth asking what’s available.
Will I get a discount on my insurance with Pass Plus?
Possibly. It could help reduce your costs but this will vary between providers. Not all insurers will offer you a discount on your car insurance.
You also need to check if you still qualify for a reduction if you passed your practical driving test more than a year ago.
Applying for a Pass Plus certificate
If you pass, you can apply for your own Pass Plus certificate from the DVSA Pass Plus team at email@example.com.
You’ll also receive a training report from your instructor after reaching the required standard.
What other advanced driving courses are available?
If you want to bolster your driving skills even more, you can take an advanced driver course through IAM RoadSmart.
One of their instructors will assess your driving in your own car and look at what areas of your driving need improvement.
You’ll practice skills at an advanced level, like control, observation, timing and road positioning. Your instructor will also go through how to deal with unpredictable roads and other road users’ behaviour.
After the test at the end of the course you’ll be a fully-certified expert driver. The IAM RoadSmart course costs around £149.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) also offer advanced courses. They’re run by retired or serving police officers who volunteer.
The lessons are free, but there’s usually a small fee to join the local group. The test itself costs £67 for drivers over 26.
You’ll a £40 yearly subscription for the course, and you’ll need to be re-tested every three years. You can find more information on this type of course on the ROSPA website.