Gearing Up!
The Newsletter of the East Lancashire Group of
the Institute of Advanced Motorists
Number 4, May 2001

In this issue

  • Advanced Driving Assessment Tips, pg 2
  • Would you pass the theory test?, pg 3
  • What police drivers have to learn, pg 4


Welcome to the new-look newsletter of the East Lancashire Advanced Motorists! Let me introduce myself. My name is Stuart Dalby and I am one of the observers with the group. I became an advanced driver with the group's help in May 1999 and have been an observer ever since.

First of all, let me thank Paul Talbot, the previous newsletter editor, for getting the ball rolling. Paul's a busy chap, what with being the group's co-ordinator and also

  friends of the group. Friends of the group who no longer attend drives or meetings are still free to view and print off a copy of the 'enhanced' versions of these newsletters from our web site. If you didn't know we had a web site - Where have you been???

The group's web site can be found by typing into your computer's web browser. It was created in March 2000 to be an online brochure for the group and has become an important source of new enquires. To celebrate its first birthday the website recently had a redesign and now includes more information which should be of interest to members and friends of the group. Why not take a look?

  Enjoy this newsletter and happy driving, Stuart


June 2001
Treasure Hunt
Date and venue to be decided.
Listen out at the Sunday drives for more details.
July 2nd onwards
Spring Course tests start
September 16th, 2001
Autumn Course Starts
Assessment/ demonstration drive.
Check on the website for location.
the press representative, and so I volunteered to take over as newsletter editor. Thanks again Paul.

The aim of this newsletter is to be informative, educational and fun to members and

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 2


Your advanced driving assessment
Stuart Dalby, East Lancs IAM

With people on the current course coming up to taking their assessments, what tips can we give them?

Well, first thing to note is DON'T PANIC. If you've driven ok on the Sunday drives, you have nothing to worry about. It goes without saying that if you are still unsure about anything regarding your driving, perhaps you are still finding the System

of Car Control difficult to master, your comentaries are a bit... repetitive, or your manoevers could be better, make the time to put in some extra practice now, before your assessment. No point wasting 12 weeks of your time for not putting in an hour or so of extra practise. That said, relax, concentrate and your assessment will go OK.

When you have been given the date, time and location to meet your assessor, make sure you know how to find the place and be sure you can get there on time.

  Turning up late will make you anxious before you even start! Park in a position which will make moving off when you have your assessor in the car as easy as possible. No point making things difficult for yourself.

When you see your assessor approaching, get out of your car and greet him. Lead him to your car and open the passenger door for him. Once he's in, close the door and perform your exterior vehicle checks.

Once inside, tell your assessor what you have

  checked outside and commence your cockpit drill. Your assessor may stop you before you start your cockpit drill in order to get the paperwork out of the way. Make sure you have with you all the required paperwork; your driving licence, certificate of insurance, and MOT certificate (if applicable). You will not be able to take your assessment without producing these.

Once the cockpit drill has been completed your assessor will ask you to set off. Remember, relax! Remember what you have been taught, don't rush and make things

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 3
hard for yourself, look well ahead so that you see things in good time and you'll be ok.

The assessment can be thought of as you requiring a certain number of points in order to be recommended. You start off with say, 50 points, and if you still have this number or more at the end, you will be recommended. You will gain points if you demonstrate different aspects of advanced car control. For example, you negociate a hazard well, you drive smoothly, you demonstate use of the System of Car Control well, you make good progress, etc. You will lose points for example by selecting the wrong gear for a junction, poor positioning, failing to answer a question asked by the assessor. So don't get worried if you make some mistakes - just make sure you make up for it by remembering as many of the things you have been taught.

If you do feel anxious during the test, need a smoke, or for whatever reason. Tell your assessor that you are going to find a safe

  place to stop and take a break. He will not mind.

Now my other tips. Don't be trying to look at what the assessor is writing down. These will just be notes (probably unreadable to anyone else anyway) so that he can remember both good and bad aspects of your driving. You just concentrate on your driving!

Don't be surprised if the assessor takes you on roads you didn't even know existed. These are Class 1 police drivers - they know the area like the back of their hand. They will deliberately try to take you places so that you cannot rely on local knowledge. Advanced drivers should be able to drive as well on an unfamilar road as a familiar one and so this is what they are looking for.

Finally, during your assessment you will be asked questions in order for your assessor to judge your knowledge of the Highway Code. Don't expect to be asked noddy questions like what a national speed limit sign looks like, or what the zig-zag lines on the approach to a zebra crossing mean. As a

  pointer, make sure you know what a clearway is, when you can cross an unbroken white centre line, what are the rules for when you are allowed to enter a box junction. Basically - you need to have read your Highway code. You've been warned! :-)
Would you pass the theory driving test?

I suspect most of you, like me, obtained your driving licence before the need to pass a multiple-choice written theory test. How do you think you'd do if you had to sit one now? Here are some sample questions (answers in next issue)

1. Your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake. What is the most likely cause of the problem? (1 answer required)

  1. Incorrect tyre pressure
  2. Your handbrake is still on
  3. Poorly adjusted brakes
  4. Low brake fluid level

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 4
2. When driving in snow it is best to keep in as high a gear as possible. Why is this? (1 answer required)
  1. To help prevent wheelspin
  2. To leave a lower gear available in case of wheelspin
  3. To help you slow down quickly when you brake
  4. So that wheelspin does not cause your engine to run too fast

3. Which things should you do when a front tyre bursts? (2 answers required)

  1. Let the vehicle roll to a stop
  2. Brake firmly and quickly
  3. Hold the steering wheel lightly
  4. Change down and brake hard to stop the vehicle quickly
  5. Grip the steering wheel tightly

To take the full test, where you have to answer 35 questions, visit

What do police drivers have to learn?
Scottish Police College

You might be interested to see exactly what a police driver has to go through in order to get a class 2 or class 1 police driver rating. Here's the syllabus for a Police Advanced Driving course available in Scotland.

Stage 1

  • Driving Theory
  • Starting and Stopping Drills
  • System of Car Control
  • Gear Changing Technique
  • Steering Technique
  • Introduction to Commentary
  • Manoeuvreability Training
  • Skid Correction Training

Stage 2

  • 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
  • Objective Examinations on Highway Code and Roadcraft

Stage 3

  • Final development of all of the above skills to make safe and smooth - maximum progress
  • Final Drive Tests

Ring any bells? The full syllabus is available from <link out-of-date>.

Call for articles

Members and friends of the East Lancashire Advanced Motorists group are welcome to submit articles or suggest topics for inclusion in future newsletters. Articles should not consist of more than 2000 words and may be edited for publication. Articles should preferably, be emailed to Alternatively, they may be posted direct to the group's secretary.

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email: