Passing your driving test is a great achievement and you should be proud of it. However, it doesn’t necessarily equip you to cope with driving on all types of roads or in every weather condition. If you’re concerned about your lack of experience or just want to build up confidence in your driving, why not consider taking the Pass Plus programme. And, with the added experience of the Pass Plus scheme, you could even qualify for a discount on your Direct Line car insurance.
Pass Plus is a training scheme for new drivers that is designed to make them safer drivers. It can be taken up to a year after you’ve passed your driving test and it has the backing of the Government, the Driving Standards Agency and Direct Line insurers.
In addition to giving you more experience in a variety of different conditions Pass Plus could have a beneficial affect on your Direct Line insurance premiums. If you pass your driving test while you are still quite young, you may find it very expensive to insure your car since your age is one of the factors insurance companies take into account when assessing premiums – so it’s worth taking advantage of any discounts offers available, whilst also helping you become a safer, more confident driver.
What’s involved in Pass Plus?
There are a number of elements to Pass Plus, all of them areas in which you are less likely to have experience as a newly qualified driver:
- Town driving, to enable you to cope with more complicated road layouts and rush hour traffic
- All-weather driving: how to drive in fog or heavy rain
- Night driving, how to judge speed and distance in the dark, being aware of pedestrians and cyclists
- Out of town driving – the countryside can pose its own problems, for while there may be less traffic the roads may be narrower and bumpier, bends less well marked and there may be vehicles, pedestrians and even horses in the middle of the road
- Motorway and dual-carriageway driving: allowing more space between vehicles, the correct use of different lanes and how to join and leave multi-lane roads safely.
A Pass Plus course takes a minimum of six hours, though you might need further tuition in one or more of the elements – you need to complete all the elements to your instructor’s satisfaction before you pass. There’s no test at the end of the course, just continual assessment of your improving driving skills. It’s usually recommended that you take your Pass Plus course with the same instructor who taught you to drive as they will already have an idea of your main strengths and weaknesses and can concentrate on the areas that they think need the most attention.
Why should I do it?
The Pass Plus course may sound daunting to a new driver, but it’s really all about giving you confidence in your ability to deal with any circumstance you might come across when driving. You’ll gain valuable advanced driving experience in a safe environment where you can build on your existing skills and knowledge.
The cost of a Pass Plus course – around £150 depending on rates set by the instructor – might well pay for itself through the savings you later make on your car insurance. With Direct Line the Pass Plus Discount is available to new drivers purchasing insurance within the first year of passing their test.
It’s also worth noting that a number of local authorities have been so impressed by the importance and success of the Pass Plus course that they have started to subsidise pupils who show an interest in taking it – so you could save even more.
When you have been driving for a year, the Direct Line Pass Plus Discount is no longer available. However, you may be eligible for Direct Line’s No Claims Discount – and the safer your drive, the better your chances of not having an accident and therefore not making a claim. Direct Line No Claims Discount gives drivers up to 65% discount on their premium over nine years.
The simple truth is that it will always be more expensive for newer drivers to insure their cars than experienced ones, but Pass Plus and the discounts offered by Direct Line can help you reduce those costs.