Readers who are looking for more information on this topic may find this resource helpful.
IAM Roadsmart has stated that Car Groups can resume observed drives starting from Monday 20th July 2020.
I have attached the relevant information for you in red below.
We recognise some Associates, Observers and Examiners will be hesitant about returning to in-car course delivery and testing. All activity must only resume when they feel it is safe to do so, according to individual circumstances. If any party has concerns, an observed drive or test must not be carried out.
Guidelines for restarting Advanced Driver coaching are now available on the Group Management dashboard for groups, Observers and Examiners.
In-car coaching in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remains suspended until devolved administration restrictions are eased.
The guidelines – Car Observer COVID-19 Restart Guidance V1 2 July 2020 and Car Examiner COVID-19 Restart Guidance V1 2 July 2020 – reflect the guidance issued to driving instructors by the DVSA. Advice for Associates is also available as a guidance document.
Recommendations about the use of PPE – facemasks, gloves and hand sanitiser – are included and groups are encouraged to start making arrangements to provide this equipment for Observers. The indicative timetable for a return to Advanced Driver coaching, subject to the circumstances in each car and combined group, is:
Monday 6 July – peer observed sessions and assessments can begin to ensure observing skills are up to date. These sessions must be conducted in accordance with the guidelines unless all participants are part of the same household or ‘social bubble’. Observers must continue to operate to IMI standards. The LOPS and NOPS forms on the Group Management dashboard provide a helpful guide.
Monday 20 July – Observed sessions with Associates may start.
Monday 3 August – IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driver testing starts.
While groups may wish to set a different timetable for returning to in-car coaching according to their circumstances, in preparation all Observers and Examiners in England are requested to:
Use the guidelines – Car Observer COVID-19 Restart Guidance V1 2 July 2020
We understand that you will be disappointed to not be able to start/resume your progress toward becoming and advanced drive but we feel that, in the interests safety of both associates and observers, it is still too early to resume observed drives due to the difficulty in maintaining a safe social distance between observers and associates (unlike the motorcycle groups where they are on separate machines and can maintain a good social distance between the observer and associate).
The main reason for this is that large majority of our observers feel that now is not yet the time to resume observed drives due to age, underlying health issues or both.
We will continue to monitor the situation and also advise you of any change in circumstances. In the meantime, please do take care, stay safe stay well.
Group Secretary and National Observer
In light of the most recent instructions from government about the vital importance of social-distancing as part of the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19), IAM RoadSmart’s Senior Management Team continues to meet daily by conference call so I wanted to communicate with all our members about what actions IAM RoadSmart has taken to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
The priority must be for IAM RoadSmart and all our members and groups to contribute fully to efforts to minimise the spread of the virus nationwide and maintain the health and safety of all staff, members, associates, examiners and customers. Therefore all groups have suspended activities including observed runs for associates, both in cars and on motorcycles and all meetings and social gatherings, including AGMs and ride-outs. Advanced driving and riding tests and assessments remain suspended until further notice as are all re-qualifications for Local Observer Assessors, National Observers, Fellows and Masters.
We have also taken the decision on Tuesday 24 March to close our offices in Welwyn Garden City until further notice. We will therefore unfortunately be unable to respond to letters or communications that are sent in the post at the current time. We would encourage people to use email to contact us wherever possible. Membership related enquiries should be sent to email@example.com.
Our Customer Care phone lines are still operational from 8.30am until 6pm, Monday to Friday. You may have to wait a little longer than usual for a response to your call or email, but we thank you in advance for your patience and will answer your query as quickly as we can.
Where associates’ membership expires, we will extend their membership, at no additional cost, for up to a further six months to enable all associates to complete their coaching and take their test without disadvantage. Each associate should contact our Customer Care team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0300 303 1134 only when they have received their membership renewal notice.
I trust you enjoyed reading our new redesigned magazine, RoadSmart, which you should have received last week. We appreciate all feedback, suggestions and your letters for the next issue. You can access a digital version on our website via the member login at www.iamroadsmart.com and don’t forget the member area also has a whole host of member benefits as well as enabling you to update your contact details. Why not login now and see everything we offer?
We thank you for your support in these unprecedented times and we will continue to update you regularly, as the situation and government advice develops.
Best wishes to you, your friends and family.
Jane arrived punctually for her test.
She passed her eyesight test, wearing glasses throughout the drive. Her car was a BMW X3 Xdrive automatic 3.0 diesel. The route lasted 70 minutes (0900-1010) over 48.6 miles, including narrow rural, urban, open road and dual carriageway (no motorway due to distance from test location). Speed limits from 30-70mph. The weather was predominantly dry with momentary fine drizzle, road surfaces dry and conducive to good steering and braking.
The car was driven in full auto throughout which is Jane’s preferred setting and mirrors her previous observed sessions. Prior to starting Jane conducted thorough POWDER and personal checks, with a comprehensive cockpit drill and moving brake test.
Jane took used and gave information in a timely non ambiguous manner. Missing only one speed repeater on entering Uttoxeter resulting in travelling at 35-40 mph in a section of national limit for about 500yards.
From her spoken thought I was very impressed at her view far down the road and strong 360 degree safety awareness. Clearly displaying a good comprehension and application of visual links. This made her planning timely and well thought out. Obvious clear comprehension and application of IPSGA system driving.
There were no issues with positioning at any hazard we encountered. Positioning appropriately for visibility stability and view on all occasions. She demonstrated strong safety positioning by not overtaking a slower vehicle which was following a group of cyclists as we exited Uttoxeter. It would have been easy to get pressured into attempting an untidy overtake for little gain. Positioning for both near and offside bends was considered and appropriate.
Jane could have been marginally more robust and business like getting up to speed. This said she always exploited an appropriate pace for the circumstance. Perhaps a little earlier at getting up to speed would develop more overtaking opportunities and progress for her. Certainly not slow.
The gear box was set to full auto, Jane’s car is a 3.0 diesel and as such highly intelligent; resulting in effortless smooth changes. I would encourage Jane to experiment with the tiptronic side of the gearbox to fully enjoy the potential from the car.
Always very smooth, possibly apply more noticeable acceleration a fraction earlier to maximise progress where appropriate.
Jane delivered a very polished and accomplished drive today. Always safe and courteous to other road users. Jane was receptive to feedback given.
My observations are very minor:-
Her hands dropped fractionally low on the steering wheel, keep little fingers on the upper of the centre of the steering wheel brace when possible, this will keep pull push steering more comfortable and fluid.
Jane’s pace could have been fractionally quicker to exploit a little more progress.
Occasional ‘comfort braking’ was evident. Work on getting the braking done on the straights and setting the speed for the corner prior to steering through the corner. This improved over the drive.
Finally on approach to roundabouts I would like her to trust her observations more. On a couple of instances she looked, slowed, looked again and continued to slow. Had she trusted her initial (well timed) observations she could plan to ‘go’ earlier when safe to do so. Great to be safe but don’t squander the obvious chances to go.
These observations cumulatively are still only minor and as such I have no hesitation awarding Jane a F1rst rate pass based on her drive today.
Well done and continued success with your future exploits. A very accomplished drive today.
Would you like some helpful advice on parking and manoeuvring, but feel silly asking?
Never fear, Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at IAM RoadSmart, is on hand to provide you with some useful hints and tips to build your confidence if you find these manoeuvres tricky.
Selecting the most appropriate car park and parking bay, and how to interpret road signs, restrictions, road markings and the Highway Code when manoeuvring can be daunting for many drivers.
When you drive ‘proactively’ you apply the principles of safe driving: observation, anticipation and planning, and also the principle of safe stopping.
The following tips can also apply to parking and manoeuvring your vehicle on the road, which will help you to become a safer motorist.
Manoeuvring in the road
Richard Gladman said: “The ability to pick the right location and method to park or turn around is a skill that develops over time. With a little practice we can all reverse or parallel park, it is about building up confidence and making sure your observation is sound.
“If you have any doubt, stop. A few seconds checking is much better than the time to deal with the damage.”
Want to improve your driving skills? Book yourself onto our Parking and Manoeuvring 75 minute on-road session with one of our driving experts. Find out more by clicking here.
Derby Advanced Motorists offer some tips and advice on driving safely for longer, and recommendations on where to find further support if needed.
Top tips for older drivers
– staying safe behind the wheel
Experts from the Older Drivers Forum highlight four simple things you can do to carry on driving safely for longer:
1. Make sure you have regular eyesight tests with an optician
See here for the Older Drivers Forum’s recommendations on eyesight.
2. Ensure you seek medical advice about any medicines you are taking which may affect your driving
The Department for Transport has issued guidelines on driving while taking prescribed medicines here.
3. There are certain medical conditions which by law you must inform the DVLA about
For a full list of conditions including glaucoma, strokes, heart conditions and diabetes about which you are obliged to notify the DVLA click here.
4. Undertake a voluntary appraisal of your driving to brush up on your skills and carry on driving safely for longer
When was the last time someone appraised your driving? It’s fun and can really build your confidence, give it a go! Find out details of available reviews and assessments here.
Drivers in the East Midlands can also take advantage of Free Taster Sessions.
The Older Drivers Forum is a very informative website and can be found at:
As the UK population ages, more drivers are now aged over 75 than ever before and the number of pensioners behind the wheel is predicted to increase. In spite of some of the headlines, older drivers are statistically some of the safest behind the wheel, and access to a car is critical for many of them for their independence and wellbeing. Visit the IAM RoadSmart’s older drivers web page with any friends and family who may find this information of value.
As part of its older driver campaign and in light of government figures that predict a four-fold increase in the number of drivers over 75 in the next 25 years, IAM RoadSmart is calling for an urgent debate on the best way to keep drivers safely behind the wheel into old age.
Would you like to find out what advanced driving is all about before making the decision to go through a course. The Derby Group are offering free taster sessions. To book yours contact the group secretary. Alternatively, check the calendar and come along to the next run session.
The taster session is a short drive with an observer and is arranged at a time to suit you. The observer will explain what an examiner is looking for and will assess your driving against the standards that the IAM expects.
You will receive a short assessment report detailing how the IAM can benefit you. There is no obligation to join but we would be delighted if you do. Taster sessions are booked on a first come first served so don’t delay.
Driving at night is the most dangerous time to drive, no matter what weather condition is present. The most dangerous time to drive on any roadway is between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., especially on the weekends.
A 2017 survey by RoSPA revealed that 40% of all collisions occur in the hours of darkness. And 20% of serious accidents on motorways and monotonous roads in the UK are caused by falling asleep behind the wheel. The main reasons behind this is because of reduced visibility and increased difficulty in judging speed and distance.
This isn’t helped by reduced street lighting. Research from Confused.com reveals that over a third of the UK’s street lights are dimmed and 12% are switched off completely, making driving at night even more difficult.
Familiar routes can pose totally different challenges in the dark so make sure you are wide awake and looking out for pedestrians and cyclists in the gloom.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to improve your safety when driving at night.
Know and understand how the lights in your vehicle work. Make sure you understand what Auto Lights and Mainbeam switches do. Note where the Main Beam indicator is on your instrument panel.
Read the highway code for the rules regarding use of lights on cars. Remember that some requirements are mandatory and could result is fines and penalties if not obeyed.
Ensure that all the lights on your car are functioning as they should.
Keep windows clean to avoid increased glare and condensation.
Read the road ahead for signs of oncoming drivers – glimmers of light at the top of hills and reflections at bends could be the headlights of other vehicles, giving you advanced warning.
Cars behind you with main beam on can be distracting. If you are following another car, no matter how far back, dip you headlights to reduce the risk of ‘mirror dazzle’.
On rural roads, drive on full beam whenever possible but dip your lights when faced with, or following, another road user to avoid dazzling them.
Help drivers see you in twilight by turning your headlights on before sunset and keeping them on for an hour after sunrise.
Reduce your speed, understand the limit of your vision and plan ahead. The limit of your vision at night is often limit of your headlight beam which is where you must be able to stop.
Allow more time for your own journey, so you’re not driving under pressure. It’s always advisable to take regular breaks when driving long distances, but this is even more vital when you’re driving overnight.
Have your eyes checked regularly for problems which can affect your night vision.
Be aware that other road users may behave erratically, so be prepared to give them more space.
Watch out for pedestrians, especially near pubs and clubs around closing time. Pedestrians and cyclists can be more difficult to spot, especially if they’re not wearing reflective clothing.
If you’re travelling through a rural area at night, it’s possible for a herd of deer to cross the road, so those signs warning you of wild animals you’ll have previously passed will suddenly make sense.
If you can, dim your dashboard lights and reduce reflections and avoid reducing your night vision.
Carry a basic emergency kit. Anything can happen at night and it is important to be prepared. Having a tool kit, torch, map and a first aid kit (if you don’t have one already) can make a real difference. A fully charged mobile with the details of your breakdown cover is another must.
Coping with headlight glare
If you’re dazzled by an oncoming car then avoid looking at the headlights. Look away from the lights! Keep your attention on the left-hand kerb and try to keep your speed steady. Staring at the headlights will impair your night vision, even after the vehicle has passed.
We’re having a typical English summer, sun for a couple of weeks and then downpours for days on end. IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman advises a few ways to keep safe in heavy rain and floods.
Is your car aquaplaning? Here are some signs that you could be:
If you experience any of this, try not to panic. Follow these tips:
When your car gains traction you can slowly begin to use the brake and slow down.
If it’s been raining and you’re about to drive, there are things that you can do to help prevent your car from aquaplaning. Standing water as shallow as 2.5mm can cause an aquaplaning effect at speed so be sure to follow the steps below:
If you have decided to drive through a flood take the following precautions:
Richard says “With the British weather the way it is, we should all be well practised at driving in the rain. Keeping your car maintained and the rubber (wipers and tyres) in good condition will help you stay safe. In the recent extreme weather, we have seen that standing water and floods are becoming more commonplace, so take extra care and if possible, avoid driving through standing water. If you’re in any doubt about the depth or surface underneath a flood, then it’s best not to take any chances.”
Courtesy IAM Inform Weekly News