I passed my driving test in January this year, and even though I’ve been driving now for 9 months - I haven’t really had much experience driving on different roads, which is worrying especially as winter is approaching. I remember my driving instructor telling me about a Pass Plus course that I could take after I’d passed my first driving test, which was designed to help you become more confident behind the wheel. As it was confidence I was lacking, I decided to take the plunge and give it a go. After looking at the course in more detail, I realised that not only would it improve my confidence but also would improve my knowledge about different roads and driving conditions.
What does a Pass Plus course involve?
The Pass Plus course has 6 modules. They cover driving:
- In town
- In all weathers
- On rural roads
- At night
- On dual carriageways
- On motorways
Of course, some of this is included in driving lessons when you’re learning – for instance, learners are now allowed motorway driving lessons. Aside from this, I wanted to build my confidence and skill to tackle all of the above but especially driving on rural roads, driving at night and of course – the pesky motorway!
Signing up to do the Pass Plus course was so easy and straightforward! I got back in touch with my driving instructor who taught me when I was a learner (and happened to be a Pass Plus registered driving instructor) and I booked in 6 lessons at an hour each.
The cost of a Pass Plus can vary depending on various things, like where you live and the instructor you choose. It cost me £160 for 6 lessons which I decided to take in my own car.
With the lessons booked and my car prepped – it was time to get my Pass Plus course underway!
1. Driving on rural roads
Driving on country roads was the most difficult thing about my Pass Plus course simply because I hadn’t had much practice on them, which has led me to avoid them since I passed my test.
My instructor pointed out that I needed to be more careful because there are more hazards on these winding roads, but my instructor told me what I needed to look out for and what hazards are around. I ended up getting stuck behind a tractor so I had to wait for ages to get to my destination, which wasn’t ideal! Since doing this as part of my course it really has helped my confidence grow. I also really enjoy driving on rural roads now and often take that route more. It's nicer than looking at the same stretch of dual carriageway way when you're driving!
2. Driving at night
Ever since passing my test, I’ve been a night owl and love driving when it’s dark – but it wasn’t until this course that I realised all the additional hazards there are at night. In the course, I was driving through town and a drunken man decided to walk in front of my car! Luckily I noticed him and stopped in plenty of time but this course helps you to be more wary of the dangers that come with driving at night.
3. Tackling the motorway
I had heard many horror stories from friends and family about driving on the motorway, meaning I was absolutely petrified to try it. I put it off for as long as I could, until about 4 months after I passed my test when I found myself heading for the motorway. I felt completely unprepared, and had zero confidence – so I hated it! This was the main reason for me wanting to take a Pass Plus course.
I asked if we could tackle the motorway part of the course first, simply to get it out of the way! My instructor talked me through things before we set off for the motorway and told me what I needed to do and what I needed to look out for. To make it all a tad more stressful, we had picked possibly the worst day to head out on to the motorway - it was chucking it down with rain! I must have been on the motorway for about an hour and a half in total – my nerves were at ease by the end and I felt really calm and collected - not bad for my second attempt on the motorway.
Since taking my Pass Plus course, I’m pleased to say I have actually ventured out on to the motorway by myself. Luckily, the weather held out for me and it was a much nicer day to do it. I didn’t drive on it for too long (around 10 miles) so my next mission to go to a little further!
Did I make the right decision?
I had actually put off going for my Pass Plus course for a while, but after saving up for my new car – I decided to make this my next venture. I saved up, booked it in and don’t regret my decision one bit.
Some of my friends have been put off from taking a Pass Plus course even though they’re lacking in confidence behind the wheel, because they feel like it will be a whole new driving test which, let’s face it, no one wants to take more times than they have to! It turns out, it’s not like a test at all – just lessons and tips to help you. I have come away from the course with much more knowledge, confidence behind the wheel, no fears of motorways and the potential to make my insurance cheaper – it’s a win win!