Does having an advanced driving certificate make you a better driver?

Wheels24 editor Janine Van der Post during a track launch of the Porsche Panamera in Slovakia a few years ago.
Wheels24 editor Janine Van der Post during a track launch of the Porsche Panamera in Slovakia a few years ago.

There are a number of ways in which you can be judged as a good driver.

The likes of Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are great drivers on track, while someone that obeys the rules of the road is a good driver as well - just in different ways.

What it entails

There are a number of institutions, namely car manufacturers, across the country who offer advanced driving courses. The primary aim of advanced driving is simply to educate the driver how to handle their vehicles safely in emergency situations.

The tests are conducted in safe and controlled environments and can cost anywhere from R2 500 to R6 000 depending on who you choose to go with. The AMG Driving Academy for instance, have various courses, and this starts from R3500 for a Student Special, R3 650 for an AMG Skid Experience, and up to R12 300 for a Pro Training course. 

Have you taken up an advanced driving course? How did you find it and was it helpful in everyday driving? Email us.

The first thing you think of when you hear the word 'advanced driving' is zooming around a track in a sports car, provided by the automaker academy, but that unfortunately is not always the case.

You have to make use of your own car for the duration of the tests and you learn pretty basic things - things which should become second nature as a driver, especially on South Africa's roads with the high accident rates. Or, for a higher premium, some companies likes Mercedes-Benz AMG or Porsche offer their high-end vehicles for the course.

Some people do it to score possible discounts on their insurance premiums or because a Wikideal popped up for an insanely low price, and they happen to make great gifts for petrolheads. But most do so to enhance their driving skills.

READ | 'What a scary, yet amazing experience' - Wheels24 rookie takes her first advanced driving course

You are taught the very basics of being behind the wheel like making sure your seat and steering positions are correct, and also how to control the car in less favourable conditions.

Is it worth getting?

It is always good to have an extra certificate but with all things considered, you can learn such techniques for free the more you drive.

The K53 defensive driving is like a pre-cursor to what advanced driving is, minus all the different checking manoeuvres you have to do.

It gives peace of mind on the road, and the skills to help you know what to do in the event of real-life situations such as hijacking or potential collisions.

Most people have the mindset that they don't need a certificate to gauge how well of a driver they but for people who aren't exposed to such driving conditions, it can come in handy.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "When you start out as a motoring journalist, doing as many driving courses is mandatory, and also helps to set you up for driving high performance vehicles on launches or testing vehicles. Some training courses are pretty basic, but the skills taught are invaluable. Like holding a steering wheel correctly with your thumbs on the outside of your grip. Or how to read the road ahead. With other courses, you learn about racing lines, apexes and when and when not to brake.

"These are skills which will stick with you and you'll use it daily, well into the rest of your driving years. Definitely worth investing in as it helps to be more aware on the road, and of your surroundings. You also learn how to think for the next person on the road, and how to avoid potential situations."  

If you're interested in a course, below are some options to consider:

Driving School Cape Town - 082 063 5011

Advanced Driving 4 Africa - 060 648 9213

MasterDrive - 086 110 0618

Volkswagen Advanced Driving - 082 848 0208

Driving Coach - 084 580 2220

AMG Driving Academy 

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