What is the Pass Plus Scheme?
Learning to drive is a process that doesn't have to end after you've passed your test. After you're legally qualified to drive, you can take advantage of the UK's Pass Plus scheme in order to gain further experience and confidence. In this guide, we'll explain the scheme in more detail, so you can decide whether it's right for you.
Who is the Pass Plus Scheme for?
Even if you’ve got all the skills and knowledge that you need to drive on UK roads, heading out for the first time without an instructor to accompany you can be a daunting prospect. Many people want a little extra experience before they go it alone. They’re not wrong to be wary, as most road accidents will occur within 12 months of someone passing their test.
The Pass Plus scheme is a government initiative that was established to improve safety for new drivers and for others sharing the road with them. It’s primarily targeted at these newer motorists, but it’s actually a course that anyone can take. Brushing up on the basics can always be beneficial, no matter how long you’ve been on the road.
How much does Pass Plus cost?
The Pass Plus scheme usually costs in the region of £150 to £200. After paying out for your car and for your license, as well as any number of driving lessons and tests, you might not be too keen on spending your hard-earned cash on another course. However, the Pass Plus scheme is designed to be accessible to as many people as possible, and the costs involved can vary depending on several factors:
- How long the course takes. The scheme is designed to give around six hours of extra driving experience to new drivers, but some may take longer than others to meet all its requirements. This could increase how much you’ll pay for the course.
- Local council discounts. There are a few boroughs and districts in the UK where local authorities offer a discount on the Pass Plus scheme fees. In Wales, some drivers can pay as little as £20 for the course. Visit the official government site to see what savings you might be eligible for, based on where you live.
- Your instructor. The Pass Plus scheme has to be taken with an approved instructor who’s registered with Pass Plus. Prices may vary depending on who your instructor is.
- Insurance discounts. As people who have passed the Pass Plus scheme are likely to be safer drivers, they may be eligible for a discount on their premiums from some car insurance companies. This is far from guaranteed, and it’s less common than it used to be
What will I learn from the Pass Plus scheme?
Pass Plus is composed of six different modules, and they’re all geared towards a different aspect of driving that you might not have experienced while you were a learner. Each one corresponds to a session that lasts roughly an hour, but this will depend on how quickly you get up to scratch.
- Town driving. This part of the course teaches you how to navigate the more complex junctions on town and city roads, and it’s aimed at improving your observational skills and awareness. You’ll also understand more about the need for space around the car and about the needs of vulnerable road users.
- Rural driving. In this module, you’ll pick up better overtaking skills learn how to handle blind corners and bends. You’ll also learn how to deal with slow vehicles and animals.
- Night driving. This part of the course will give you more confidence in using your headlights. It provides some valuable experience handling glare, dazzle and other distractions. It’ll also help you to judge distance in the darkness.
- All-weather driving. With this module, you’ll find out more about weather conditions and how this can affect your driving. You’ll also learn about skidding and how to avoid it.
- Dual carriageways. Giving you more experience on these roads, this module will teach you how to judge distances better. It’ll also give you a bit of practice using the lanes and slip roads more effectively.
- Motorways. Driving on the motorway can be a challenge for many newer drivers, and this module could be the most helpful part of the course. You’ll learn how to overtake and use lanes correctly, what the rules around lights are, and what to do if you ever break down.
Once you’ve passed all six of these modules, as assessed by your instructor, you’ll receive a Pass Plus certificate to prove that you’ve completed the course successfully.
So, is the Pass Plus scheme worth it? It might not be an essential part of everyone’s journey towards driving expertise, but it’s definitely useful when you’re first starting out on the road – especially if you want a confidence boost. We’d recommend it to any newer drivers, provided they have the time and funds available.