Whether you're a new driver or have years of experience behind the wheel, an advanced driving course is certainly worth considering.

Complete a course, and you could improve your road skills, protect your passengers, help prevent accidents and ensure your car runs more smoothly.

Direct Line doesn't offer a discount to drivers who have obtained advanced driver status, but being a better driver could mean you need to make fewer claims on your Direct Line car insurance.

Who provides Advanced Driving courses?

Advanced driving training and tests are currently offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Each is based on the 'System of car control' as detailed in Roadcraft - The Police Driver's Handbook. Roadcraft is described as the gold standard in police driver training, used by all police forces, other emergency services, and the armed forces.

Courses are designed to educate drivers how to operate their cars smoothly, safely and systematically, whatever the conditions and traffic on the road.

IAM says half a million people have qualified as advanced drivers on its Advanced Driver course. Both IAM and RoSPA tests are approved by the Driving Standards Agency.

What's involved in the Advanced Driving test?

An advanced driving test covers a range of urban and country roads, plus motorways where possible.

Your examiner will hold a Police Advanced Driving certificate (either serving or ex Police Class 1) and will have extensive experience from working within the Traffic sections of the Police Force.

The IAM test result is either a pass or fail, whereas RoSPA awards Gold, Silver and Bronze pass standards.

For details of advanced tests visit the IAM or the RoSPA websites.

What's in it for me?

According to RoSPA, advanced drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident. Advanced driver or not, it remains a legal requirement to have car insurance, providing cover should you need it.

Economical driving reduces wear and tear on your engine and components, which means cheaper motoring. Less stress placed on the car also helps to reduce fuel consumption, therefore making your driving greener.

According to RoSPA, advanced drivers will also gain increased confidence in their driving and their ability to cope with the behaviour of other drivers. Not only this, but RoSPA believe you'll enjoy driving more, and others will enjoy being driven by you.