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Associate Guidelines

What do I get for my Advanced Driver payment?

The Advanced Driver payment you have made lasts for one year only from the date of joining IAM RoadSmart, and comprises:

– Your IAM RoadSmart membership fee for one year
– Your Group subscription fee for one year
– The IAM RoadSmart Test fee
– The observed drives that prepare you for the IAM RoadSmart Test

Once you have passed your Test, you become a full Member of IAM RoadSmart, and will need to pay an annual subscription to IAM RoadSmart to remain a member, and to the Group if you wish to remain a member of our Group (and we do hope that you will!)

How does your Advanced Driver course work?

When we hear from IAM RoadSmart that you have purchased your course, we enrol you in our Group and then match you with an Observer using the location and availability information you give us. Observers are volunteers who give their time to help you reach the IAM RoadSmart standard of driving. Your allocated Observer will contact you and arrange the initial drive at an agreed location, to establish your current level of driving, and to demonstrate the IAM RoadSmart standard. Advice for improving your driving will be given, and you will be expected to practice before you meet your Observer for further drives, until you both agree that you are ready to be put forward for Test. All drives are included in the cost of your course, and except for the demonstration drive, will be in your own vehicle.

How long will it take for me to be allocated to an Observer?

This will depend on your location and Observer availability. We may be able to allocate you more quickly if you can travel a bit further afield to meet your Observer (this could also be a good practice opportunity!) and can be flexible about days and times. We allocate on a first-come first-served basis, as best we can. If we do have to put you on a waiting list, we will keep in touch by email, and may be able to offer an initial assessment drive so that you can take some feedback and start working on new techniques while you wait. You should not have to wait more than three months, but in most cases the time will be shorter than this.

What training and qualifications do Observers have?

Although Observers are unpaid volunteers, they have all undertaken accredited training and have qualified, or are in the process of qualifying as, Local or National Observers accredited by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). The IMI is an external organisation that independently verifies the quality of our Observers, who are re-assessed at regular intervals. A Local Observer is qualified to deliver Advanced Driver coaching within an individual Group, while a National Observer has qualified to a higher level and is able to mentor Local Observers as well as deliver coaching in any Group within the UK. Rest assured that both Local and National Observers have all the training they need to support you in your “journey” towards the Advanced Driving Test (and beyond, should you wish it!)

What is expected of me as a HCNAD Associate?

You can see some advice from IAM RoadSmart 
here. As well as this, HCNAD expect that you will:

- Take responsibility for maintaining your vehicle in a roadworthy condition, with up to date road tax, insurance and MOT if applicable
- Let your Observer know as soon as possible if you cannot keep an appointment, even if it is only a few minutes notice
- Take on board the feedback from your Observer
- Make time to practice the techniques you have learned about during your observed drives on all sorts of road and in different conditions. Try to find different routes to those you would normally take
- Be comfortable with driving on all sorts of roads and for periods of over one hour while you practise for the Test
- Abide by the Group Rules. A copy of the complete rules is included in the IAM RoadSmart Group Handbook, which can be found on the IAM RoadSmart main website, or a copy of the rules may be inspected at Group meetings, by prior arrangement with the Group Secretary. The rules specifically applying to Associates are:
   - Associates agree to attempt to pass the IAM RoadSmart Test within twelve months of joining the Group. This period may be extended, at the Group Committee’s discretion, and subject to the Associate paying their IAM RoadSmart renewal fee and a Group renewal fee
   - The Group Committee reserves the right to refuse entry to any person as an Associate
   - Associates are not entitled to vote at General Meetings
- Let us know what happens when you take your Test

Does this scheme contribute towards training under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974?

No, this scheme is not part of any training under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

How is the local Group funded?

Although affiliated to IAM RoadSmart, the Group is a separate charity run by unpaid volunteers. Funding of the Group is through Group subscriptions, an allocation from the Advanced Driver course payment, and donations from members of the public. The majority of funds are used towards rent of venues for Group meetings, magazine production and postage. You can see our annual accounts on the Group website.

What happens on my first observed drive, and what will I need to bring with me?

Once you have been allocated to an Observer and they have contacted you, you will arrange to meet at an agreed time and location. You should have received a Welcome Pack from IAM RoadSmart, containing your Associate Logbook.  In the back of this Logbook is a Documents Declaration form – please complete this and bring the Logbook to your first (and every!) drive. If you don’t have the Welcome Pack, please let your Observer know and they will follow up for you. Your Observer will explain the coaching process, before directing you on a drive. This will be a varied route, usually less than an hour. After this, they will give you some feedback, and may then take you on a demonstration drive over the same route, to explain the processes and systems they are looking to pass on to you. At the end of the session, the Observer will give you some recommendations on what to practise, and agree with you on arrangements for your next drive.

I have my Associate Logbook, but what other resources do I need/will be useful to help me prepare for the Advanced Test?

The only additional book that is essential is an up-to-date copy of the Highway Code, as you will need to be aware of the rules of the road and the meanings of traffic signs. Know Your Traffic Signs is a useful supplement to this. You may choose to obtain a copy of Roadcraft: The Police Driver’s Handbook, on which the Advanced Driving standard is currently based. There is also a Roadcraft DVD, and although some of the footage is a little dated, the principles are sound and the DVD can be useful particularly for those who learn visually. Chris Gilbert, a former Police Advanced Driving Examiner (and featured on the Roadcraft DVD) has made a series of Ultimate Driving Craft DVDs that may also be of interest. Finally, for examples of commentary driving, try searching for “Advanced Driving Commentary” on YouTube but be aware that quality may be variable: look for clips made by IAM RoadSmart Groups in preference to any others.

You can find more useful resources by joining our online community, HCNAD Online.  This is available to all associates and full members.  It has dedicated sections for Associates, Observers, and Masters drivers.  The community is accessed through an app which is available for smartphones and tablets, and for PC via the web.  Users can find the community by searching “HCNADOnline” on the App Store for Apple, or Google Play for Android devices.  On the web, go to , or from the HCNAD website, go to About Us – Our Community, and look for Our Online Community. 

 How many observed runs will it take to become ready for the Test?

There is no set number of observed runs for an Associate to become Test ready; it depends partly on your own experience, but mainly on how much you can practise, and how quickly you can learn from your Observer. Most people can achieve Test standard after 6-8 observed runs (typically a fortnight apart), so you could be Test ready in 3-4 months.

What does the Test involve?

The Advanced Driving Test is carried out by an Examiner allocated by IAM RoadSmart and is a contract between you and IAM RoadSmart. The Group will complete the Test application on your behalf when you and your Observer agree that you are ready.  IAM RoadSmart will then contact you with details of your Examiner, who will be in touch soon afterwards to arrange to meet you for your Test.

The following notes are for general guidance, and may not necessarily reflect exactly what happens on your Test. Exceptional driving skill is NOT required to pass the Test, but safe, smooth, systematic and legal driving is.

The Advanced Driving Test consists of a drive of up to one hour in duration, over all types of road from country lanes, town streets and residential areas to dual carriageways, including possibly a motorway, so your practice runs will cover all of these. You must be comfortable with driving on all types of road, and be able to keep up your concentration for over one hour of driving. The Examiner, who will be the holder of a Police Advanced Driving certificate, will do his/her best to put you at ease, and will start with the premise that they expect you to pass the Test.

The Examiner will expect your vehicle to be roadworthy with windows clean and unobstructed, and capable of achieving and sustaining national speed limits. He/she will ask you to sign a Documents Declaration to confirm that you have a valid Driving Licence, current car insurance and MOT (if applicable), and will ask you to read a car registration plate at a distance of 20 metres to confirm your eyesight meets the required standard.

 As well as my Advanced training, what else does the local Group have to offer?

We offer monthly evening meetings in Welwyn Garden City. At every meeting, there is a speaker of interest, usually but not always on a driving-related topic, and a raffle drawn at the end of the evening. We will hold occasional quiz evenings, and once or twice a year there will be an evening dedicated to Associates, where we invite local Examiners along to answer questions about what to expect on Test. Our AGM is held annually, and this will include entertainment such as a competitive quiz and awards of trophies to significant contributors to the Group.

All members receive our quarterly magazine Advanced Driving, either by email or hard copy according to their preference.

We organise visits to places of local interest – previous events have included a backstage tour of a West End musical, a tour of Bletchley Park, a tour of the BMW Mini plant in Oxford, and a visit to the Traffic Control Centre at South Mimms. Driving-related activities have included Speedskills performance driving experiences, hovercraft racing and karting, and we run regular visits to the Skid Pan at Kelvedon in Essex.

This Group website is your first port of call for all information about events, please check 
here for the most up-to-date status.

What happens after I take my Test?

After you have taken your Test, please do let your Observer know the result as soon as possible. We expect it will be the good news that you have passed, in which case you will become a full Member of the Group.  IAM RoadSmart will send your certificate directly to your home address – you can bring it along to a Group meeting so that it can be formally presented to you, if you wish.

There are numerous opportunities for further development post-Test – you can train to become an Observer yourself, which allows you to give something back to the Group while maintaining your own Advanced Driving skills.  Alternatively, you could consider becoming an IAM RoadSmart Examiner.  You can take the Fellow membership route, with a 3 year retest leading to enhanced recognition and insurance benefits.  Or you can consider the IAM RoadSmart Masters qualification, which offers the ultimate challenge for civilian drivers – see here for details.  

If you should fail, don’t despair. Please do give it another go – as long as you are trying, we are here to help you. There is no minimum time before a further test can be taken. You will need to pay a re-test fee to IAM RoadSmart, and may need to renew your IAM RoadSmart and Group membership if your training has exceeded the 12 month time limit. But whatever happens, remember that you will end up as a better, safer driver than before.

Who should I contact if I have problems during my training?

In the first instance, talk to your Observer. If you have a problem with your Observer, then please do contact either the Associate Manager or the Observer Manager for advice (contact details are provided in the Group magazine). We do have a feedback procedure, which you can find 
here, and this details how to make a formal complaint, in the (hopefully unlikely) event that this becomes necessary.