Driving skills need a brush-up? Introducing our new charity client, IAM RoadSmart

Dan Linstead , , , 27 February 2020

We’re delighted to be working with a new client, IAM RoadSmart. The UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart approached us to redesign their members’ magazine and help them produce a range of training and recruitment materials. If you’re not aware of the organisation’s work, then let us introduce you…

IAM RoadSmart – who are they?

IAM RoadSmart exists to improve road safety by making better drivers and riders – and they’ve been excelling at it since 1956. Their network of experts and volunteers share their knowledge through local groups to help people hone their skills behind the wheel and handlebars. There are 182 local groups across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all made up of qualified advanced drivers and riders who want to share their knowledge and skills voluntarily.

How many IAM RoadSmart members are there?

IAM RoadSmart has around  90,000 members currently, and has carried out over half a million advanced tests since 1956. Once you’re a full member you can qualify as an Observer to coach others to advanced standard, or take a further test to become a Master, which would mean you’ve reached the highest possible standard of civilian driving.

What do you mean ‘civilian’?

Drivers in the emergency services, and a few other accredited training providers, receive driver and rider training to an advanced level as part of their job, which entitles them to automatic IAM RoadSmart membership if they want it. In fact, the principles on which IAM RoadSmart coaching is based are taken from ‘The System of Car Control’ first introduced by the police in 1937 and extended to cover motorcycles in the 1960s. It is the basis of all the emergency services’ driving.

What are the benefits of being a member?

Apart from the obvious benefits of being a safer, more considerate road user, many members say they find driving or riding more enjoyable thanks to their advanced skills. Members also enjoy the cash savings from reduced wear and tear on their vehicles. They can also benefit from reduced vehicle insurance costs too (IAM RoadSmart’s affiliated insurer, Cornmarket Insurance Services, has helped over 35,000 members get cheaper insurance policies). Oh, and more efficient driving and riding burns less fuel, so there are ecological advantages too!

Do you have to be a member to receive driver training?

No. If there’s a particular aspect of your driving you’d like to brush up on, such as motorways, rural roads, speed management or parking, you can boost your confidence and gain an insight into advanced driving by taking an on-road module or a free taster drive. There are also driver and rider assessments, to give you an objective, independent review of your skills.

What else does the charity do to advance road safety?

IAM RoadSmart’s commercial arm runs a wide range of courses for businesses, helping people who drive for work to brush up their motoring. Around 5,000 company drivers receive IAM RoadSmart training every year (some of them even go on to become members). It also delivers drink-drive rehabilitation training, for convicted drink-drivers referred by a court. It helps those caught drinking and driving understand the dangers of alcohol, not only with respect to driving, but to their health and life in general.

Sorry, I forgot to ask: does the ‘IAM’ in IAM RoadSmart stand for something?

It does! IAM harks back to the organisation’s original name, the Institute of Advanced Motorists. The RoadSmart name was adopted in 2016.  The change of name reflected a desire to become more accessible to a wider cross-section of drivers and riders, and make an even greater contribution to road safety as a result.

Are there any famous IAM RoadSmart motorists?

IAM RoadSmart’s honorary president is Formula 1 racing great Nigel Mansell CBE, who says “I believe driving expertise isn’t just for the race track”. Other famous advanced drivers and riders include rally and racing legend Paddy Hopkirk MBE and British Touring Car star Colin Turkington. And the current land speed record-holder, Andy Green OBE, is a member too. We’ve interviewed him for the first issue of the redesigned magazine.

Ah yes, the magazine. What have you done with it?

We’ve completely redesigned IAM RoadSmart’s regular members’ magazine, giving it a fresh look and introducing great new features. We’ve incorporated some stunning photography too, to inspire readers to get out and enjoy some amazing roads. The first issue is out in March 2020; pages are just heading off to the printer now…

Anything else?

Our video team has also produced a range of promotional and training films to help with IAM RoadSmart’s recruitment and coaching. We spent several days filming the Bristol Advanced Drivers and Advanced Motorcyclists and other local volunteers, then editing the footage into downloadable resources for IAM RoadSmart’s staff and local groups to use to help spread the word and create even more advanced drivers and riders.

Interested? You can learn about IAM RoadSmart’s work on their website or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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