We make better drivers and riders

Blog post posted on 19/04/16 |

Sarah Sillars – IAM RoadSmart chief executive

It’s not often an organisation has so many firsts on one day. But for us, today is a biggie. New brand. New website. New courses. New standards. And a new strapline, ‘we make better drivers and riders’. Because that’s what we do.

The IAM has been around since 1956 and a lot has changed in that time. Here’s a taster:

  • A five-fold increase in the number of vehicles on the road  
  • Laws on drink driving, seat belt use and mobile phones introduced
  • The arrival of motorways and toll roads
  • In-car technology, including lane departure, heads-up displays and crash avoidance
  • Smartphones as a major distraction.

All of these factors have changed the face of driving and riding and this in turn has implications for how we teach people to develop. A key change for us is linking driving and riding more clearly to the environment it happens within. A good example is steering. What’s important isn’t necessarily how we hold the wheel. It’s how we use it and the impact that has on the vehicle and our control of it.

Secondly, driving doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s affected by other people, not to mention our own distractions. Humans make mistakes and we all need to learn how to account for them. And our coaching in turn needs to take account of that.

There are also differences in how people want to learn. We’ve spent a large part of the last year researching what it is that individuals want from IAM RoadSmart. The results? Consumers favour training online, while professional drivers still opt for on-road. That drivers’ biggest concern is other drivers. And that shorter courses, such as parking, appeal to a wider range of people than the advanced driving and riding tests. Some surprising and some less so.

However a membership of more than 92,000 is a strong indication that the advanced standard still has a role to play in modern driving. Because of this the IAM roundel remains alongside the new logo, as a badge of recognition for those who meet the ultimate standard.

Our proposition is simple. Come to us for some driving or riding advice. If you want, let us take you out for a drive to help you brush up on a few skills. And, if you’re really interested, become an advanced driver or advanced rider. But whichever option you choose, let us help you become more confident on the road.

For business and their fleets, there are some other vital considerations in developing better drivers. Individuals who enjoy what they do more, will likely be better at it too. They’ll also drive more fuel efficiently and likely have fewer accidents. Safer, more cost-effective fleets. It’s a win.

From today, instead of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, IAM Drive & Survive, Driver Retraining Academy (DRA) and Professional Driver Services (PDS), we’ll be one easily recognisable brand – IAM RoadSmart. And at IAM RoadSmart we will continue to make better drivers and riders. As we’ve been doing for the last 60 years and as we hope to do for the next 60.      

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