So, you’ve finished your lessons, spent hours practicing, and finally passed your driving test (woohoo!) Now, you might be wondering what to do next with your new-found freedom.
Most people’s natural instinct is to find a car and shift some gears – after all, you’ve earned it.
However, many people want a little extra confidence before getting behind the wheel and look at taking a Pass Plus course.
If you’re in the latter category, we’re here to help. We’ve got the lowdown on Pass Plus courses; what they are, how much they cost, and whether they’re worth it.
Read on to find out more about the pros and cons of Pass Plus courses.
What is Pass Plus?
Let’s start with the all-important basics: what exactly is a Pass Plus course?
A Pass Plus course is a government-backed short driving course that totals six hours and covers areas that new drivers are typically nervous about, including dual carriageways, night-time driving, and motorway driving.
The course must be undertaken with the supervision of a driving instructor who is qualified to teach Pass Plus and tends to cost between £150-£200 in total.
What does a Pass Plus course involve?
A big benefit to Pass Plus courses is that they cover areas of driving that new drivers are typically less confident about.
These courses are practical, but because local conditions such as weather can vary, some of it might be theory-based instead.
You’ll be continually assessed throughout the course, but you won’t need to take another test (phew). Instead, you’ll either ‘achieve’ or ‘exceed’ the expectations required for each module.
When you’ve completed your Pass Plus course, you’ll be able to apply for a Pass Plus course certificate, which you’ll need if you want to try and reduce your insurance premiums.
A Pass Plus course involves the following six modules:
Motorways can be quite intimidating to new drivers – especially as they might not have spent much, if any, time learning on them.
The motorway driving part of the Pass Plus course will help build confidence in a driver, covering important areas such as: lane changes, entering and exiting junctions, breakdown management, and other safety protocols.
Dual carriageway driving
Much like motorway driving, drivers who have recently passed their tests may not have spent much time learning on dual carriageways.
You’ll cover key areas of dual carriageway driving, such as entering a dual carriageway, overtaking, and maintaining a safe distance from other drivers.
It’s a common misconception that rural driving doesn’t pose as many hazards as urban driving. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Rural driving is often less regimented than urban driving. For example, drivers must be aware of twisty and sharp bends, blind bends, animals, and agricultural vehicles.
Learning to drive in a rural area requires a totally different discipline and this part of the Pass Plus course can be useful to those who weren’t exposed to rural driving much in their lessons.
On the flipside, you might have spent most of your lessons exploring the wilds of a rural region, but not many hours navigating tricky town centres.
Your Pass Plus course will give you experience driving around town to help you navigate complex road systems, bus lanes, cycle lanes and trams, while also increasing your awareness and alertness, which is so important when driving through built-up areas.
Taking some extra-time practising driving at night can be useful if you did all – or the majority – of your lessons in daylight.
It’ll help improve your awareness and help you get used to judging speed and distance between other cars in low light.
Driving in precarious weather conditions is something all drivers are inevitably forced to face. Snow, torrential rain, ice…driving in bad weather is something we’ll all have to do at some point.
This part of your Pass Plus course is designed to help you beat the elements with confidence and prepare for when the inevitable happens.
How much is Pass Plus?
Pass Plus courses usually cost between £150 to £200 for the entire course.
Some local councils offer discounts to encourage participation, so it’s always worth doing some research first to see if you could save an extra few pounds!
How long does Pass Plus take?
A Pass Plus course usually takes at least six hours to complete. Each module in a course is typically designed to last one hour.
You can be flexible with the timings, and because there’s a lot to take in and cover, it’s usually recommended you split your course up in to two-hour segments.
You can do a Pass Plus course in a day, but given the intensity of the learning, it’s best to spread the lessons out a bit so you can absorb what you’ve learned, practice in-between lessons, and avoid burnout.
How much can Pass Plus reduce insurance?
Unfortunately, for many, Pass Plus courses won’t reduce your insurance premium, but that’s not to say it’s impossible.
It’s still worth shopping around as some insurance providers will offer discounts, but you might need to do a little digging.
If you find a provider that does offer a discount, remember to apply for a Pass Plus course certificate as you’ll need to provide this as evidence you’ve completed the course to secure a discount.
There are other ways you could reduce your insurance such as installing a black box, which is something many providers promote.
What’s a Pass Plus certificate?
A Pass Plus certificate is something you can apply for after completing your Pass Plus course, and you’ll need one to get a discount on your car insurance.
Your driving instructor will give you a signed training report once you’ve completed the course. You’ll then need to send this form to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in order to receive your certificate.
How to book a Pass Plus course
You can book your pass plus course in much the same way as you did your driving lessons.
The key thing is to book with an approved driving instructor who has registered with Pass Plus. The UK Government website has a list of Pass Plus approved driving instructors in your area to book with.
Many drivers will want to complete their Pass Plus with the driving instructor they’ve been worked with. This is fine, it’s just important to check they’ve registered with the government’s Pass Plus scheme.
Is Pass Plus worth it?
Pass Plus courses are great at giving new drivers extra confidence before they take to the road alone. They’re structured courses and address a lot of the issues new drivers typically worry about.
While they may not reduce your insurance much, they could make you a better driver, which is especially important for those in their first year of driving.
Alternatively, you could also just book a few extra hours with your driving instructor and ask to focus on areas you want to improve - for example motorway driving or night-time driving – instead of strictly following Pass Plus modules.
Pass Plus Pros
- Can build confidence
- Will expose you to driving in conditions you may not have already experienced
- Gives you more time to practice before taking the wheel
Pass Plus Cons
- Will cost you more money for lessons
- Unlikely to reduce your insurance premium
- Booking a few extra hours with an instructor to focus on your weaknesses might be cheaper and more worthwhile