Here are some testimonials from recent candidates

“I decided to begin the Advanced Motorist course for a number of reasons. If I am really honest, I thought it was terrific value for money, it might help reduce my insurance costs and it would give me some much needed confidence behind the wheel. I came to the conclusion it was time to have some proper, detailed guidance and feedback on my driving, so I paid the fees and signed up.

All the instructors are volunteers and give up valuable personal time to support people like me. I started the course in July 2017 and found the Chester IAM branch members really lovely and supportive. I was assigned to Robert and we went out most Sunday mornings for an hour or so where I practised my driving skills.  Robert showed me up-to-date techniques and worked hard to help me unravel a lot of bad habits and long established practices which were no longer correct or safe. His patience, gentle sense of humour and experience were massively helpful and over a period of time, I could see and feel the difference in my approach to driving, including my ability to anticipate hazards, control the car more effectively and be more considerate of others.

Robert supported me over a 6 month period, with detailed and constructive feedback, to the point where I felt confident, safer and more in control of my car. I was also checked by Chris to see how far I’d progressed. His additional expert feedback was especially helpful given his background as a professional trainer in industry and he spotted more things that I wasn’t even conscious of doing! I passed the formal test in March 2018 and I was thrilled to have come this far.

With my long commute to work, this experience has been invaluable and my family have consistently commented on how much better I am behind the wheel and how much more comfortable they feel as passengers! I also get to be a member of the IAM and enjoyed the Chester group’s Christmas meal out!

The experience has been a much needed confidence boost and I would highly recommend the experience whatever the personal reasons for wanting to start the course, not least the positive impact it will certainly have. It would be great if all drivers completed the Advanced course!”


I was given a Skills for Life Course as a birthday present from my family – at my request!
I had heard a bit about IAM and decided that as time was passing, reactions slowing a bit it would be good to improve my skills to compensate.  I learned to drive in London and passed my test nearly 50 years ago – so I have plenty of experience and I still enjoy driving enough be a volunteer on the Chester Community Car Scheme.

Following my first visit to the Chester IAM I had a drive out with an observer and realised straight away that I would have to unlearn some habits I had picked up and  some methods of driving that have changed with the years.  I was allocated an observer who would take me out and advise me each week on techniques to improve my driving and help me learn the methods needed to make me more aware when driving.  He was very patient and explained everything as situations arose.

As sometimes happens there were delays and gaps in my course due to bad weather, holidays and family situations and as a result I began to lose confidence and thought I might give up. However they suggested a change of observer and that was the impetus I needed to carry on. Within a very few more drives I was ready to do the test and, after a delay for snow, the day came at last. My tester put me at my ease and soon we were driving on the motorway, down country lanes, through busy streets and meeting all sorts of traffic conditions; before I realised it we were back at the start and I was delighted to learn I had passed.

I am so glad I did the course as I feel better equipped for today’s driving conditions, more aware of situations as they develop and much more proactive in my driving.  I really enjoy being out in my car!  The Chester IAM observers were courteous and kind and always full of encouragement even when I made errors and I really do feel I have become a better driver with their help . They are a dedicated bunch of people who give their time so willingly.  I think it would be great if more people knew about the IAM and learnt the Skills for Life to become better drivers.

Gwyneth Lewis

First Officer James May

First Officer James May

“I passed my standard driving test in February 2011. My driving instructor was also an IAM advanced motorist, and offered tips to help me polish my driving skills. I felt these tips were above and beyond the usual test syllabus, but that they should really be integrated into all driver training.

I then took the IAM Skills for Life course to continue to improve these skills and to learn more about the art of driving. My appointed observer was very friendly and knowledgeable, and after every session I felt more confident and more in control behind the wheel. My observer made me aware of things I had never considered before, such as techniques to build situational awareness in different scenarios.

I was fortunate enough to share several interests with my observer too, one of which was flying. I’d fallen in love with flying at a young age, and completed training for my commercial pilot license in February 2015. I joined a UK airline shortly afterwards. Throughout my flight training and now at work, I see similarities between airline flying and advanced driving. Every day I operate an Airbus aircraft, to a set, published, high standard (known as Standard Operating Procedures). I always carry out pre-flight checks to the aircraft to ensure it is fit to fly, and gather as much information as I can, from multiple sources, to build a complete picture of what is happening inside and outside the aircraft. I feel driving should be no different! The course encouraged me to be methodical in my driving, and to develop my decision-making and situational awareness skills to a high standard.

I thoroughly recommend the advanced course to all drivers, and would recommend Chester & District group; they’re a fantastic team of people.”

James May

If you would like to add your testimonial here to encourage others to improve their Driving Skills, please email   phil.brown@chesteriam.org.uk