Frequently Asked Questions

We often get asked what advanced driving is, and about our Group, so we have compiled a short list of the most frequently asked questions.


Who are Northampton Advanced Motorists?

We are one of over 280 local groups around the country affiliated to IAM RoadSmart. We are volunteers who deliver IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Driving Course to help drivers achieve advanced driving level, and pass the Advanced Driving Test.

We were formed in 1978, and since then have helped 1,014 drivers pass the Advanced test.


How does it work?

The guidance we give comes in the form of observed drives in your own vehicle accompanied by one of our IMI qualified Observers, who gives the necessary advice and guidance to assist you to achieve the required standard for the test.


Do I have to commit straight away?

Before joining us you are invited to take a free no obligation taster drive to see if it what you want to pursue. We are a not-for-profit organisation, and are only interested in raising driving standards! You can book a free taster drive here.


How long must I have held a Driving Licence for?

You can start your observed drives as soon as you have passed your driving test. Your licence has to be at least three months old before you can take the actual test.


What if I have points on my licence?

If you have up to six points on your licence then there’s no problem. If you have more than six please contact our group secretary using our Contact Us page as we should still be able to help.


How do I start?

Contact our Associates Officer, email Ian Phillips, phone 07967 651820, or use our booking form to book a FREE taster drive.


When do the Observed Drives take place?

We hold our drives, including our free taster drives, on the first Sunday morning of each month, with sessions at 09.30. If Sundays are not suitable for you please contact our Associates Officer, email Ian Phillips, phone 07967 651820, or use booking form and we can arrange for a different day.

Following your free taster drive, if you decide you would like to join us, then you will become an ‘Associate’ member, and will be allocated one of our IMI qualified Observers as part of our 1-2-1 scheme. This means that you can have observed drives more frequently an at mutually convenient times.


Are there any age limits?

We have members from 17 to 85 – age is no barrier!


Do I need to bring anything with me?

If you have already joined, bring your Associates Log Book with your signed declaration form to say that you have a full driving licence, car insurance and MOT (if required).

If you have not yet joined and want a FREE taster session, please can you bring your driving licence and insurance documents. (During all assessment and observed runs the driver remains fully responsible for the safe driving of the vehicle and that it is on the road legally and in a road worthy condition.)


What sort of vehicle can I use?

Any vehicle is suitable for the training and test. Car, van, LGV etc are all suitable.

If you want to take your advanced motorcycle test please email the Northamptonshire Advanced Motorcyclists Group Secretary.


How long does it take?

The free taster session will take approximately half an hour. This will be followed by a short debrief where the observer will give you an assessment of your driving standard and will give you tips and hints. You will be given a copy of the debrief.


How can I join?

On completion of the free taster session you will need to fill in an Advanced Driver Course application form and pay the course fee of £149 to join IAM RoadSmart as an associate. This can be done at our display unit after your run, by sending it to: Henny Cameron, The Maran House, Alderton, NN12 7LN, or by completing the online form found here [Note: this will take you to IAM RoadSmart’s website].


How much do the observed drives cost?

You only pay the one off fee of £149, your classroom session and all observed drives are covered by this.


What do I get for my £149?

You will receive The Associates Log Book, all the guidance required to enable you to pass the advanced test, a classroom session and demonstration drive, your test and the first year’s membership to IAM RoadSmart and to our Group.


How long does it take?

It depends on your current standard of driving but can be as short as 3-4 observed drives. The observed drives are approximately one hour each including the debrief. Your on-going training record is recorded in your log book. There is no time limit but we would normally expect the course to last for less than 12 months.


Where does it take place?

We meet at Northamptonshire Police HQ, (main drive), opposite Wootton Park School, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 0JQ.


Who conducts the test?

The test will be conducted by an IAM RoadSmart examiner who will hold, or have held, the Police Class One driving certificate and is an IMI qualified Examiner.


How long will the test take?

The tests last between an hour and an hour and a half. The examiner will take you on a mixture of roads and test your ability with several manoeuvres. They will include a debrief at the end of the test.