How to prepare for a driver awareness course

In today's fast-paced world, driving has become an integral part of our lives. However, speed limits and traffic rules are designed to ensure everyone's safety on the road. Unfortunately, even experienced drivers can sometimes make mistakes that result in a speeding ticket. This is where a driver awareness course comes into play. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the relevant information about preparing for a driver awareness course.

Breaking down the Driver Awareness Course

Driver awareness courses, also known as speed awareness courses, are educational programmes targeted at motorists who've been caught speeding. These courses are offered by regional police departments as alternatives to receiving points on the driver's licence and a fine.

Fundamentally, these courses are designed to re-educate speeding offenders, helping them to revisit the Highway Code and fully understand the repercussions of reckless driving. The number of motorists opting for speed awareness courses has surged significantly over the past few years.

What to expect on the day of the course 

The course typically lasts around 4 to 5 hours, depending on the provider. You will be part of a group of up to 25 people, and the course will be structured like a workshop. It's classroom-based, though some providers may include in-car practical training. While you won't have to take any official tests, you will have to actively participate in discussions.

The main objective of the course is to minimise your chances of speeding in the future and make you aware of the dangers of speeding. The workshop will:

  • Explore the reason behind your speeding

  • Educate you on the consequences of your actions

  • Refresh your knowledge of the Highway Code and stopping distances

  • Help you understand different speed limits and where they apply

  • Teach you how to identify and avoid hazards

  • Discuss potential defensive driving measures

As long as you complete the course to the satisfaction of the provider, you can leave at the end. The provider will liaise with the police afterwards to inform them that you've completed the course.

How to prepare

Preparing for a driver awareness course can seem like a daunting task, but with the right mindset and preparation, it can be a beneficial and enlightening experience.

Refresh yourself with the basics

The first step in preparing is to familiarise yourself with the basic rules and regulations of the road. This includes understanding traffic signs, road markings, and the essentials of safe driving. You can find this information in your local driving handbook or online.


In addition to knowledge and skills, it's important to approach the course with a positive attitude. Driver awareness courses are designed to increase safety on the road by improving driver behavior and attitudes. Be open to learning new things and be prepared to challenge any bad driving habits you may have developed.

Brush up on your existing skills

Next, if your course has practical elements, make sure to brush up on your practical driving skills. You should be comfortable with basic maneuvers such as parallel parking, three-point turns, and emergency stops. Remember, the purpose of a driver awareness course is not just to pass a test, but to become a safer driver.


Lastly, don't forget to get a good night's sleep before the course. You want to be alert and focused during your sessions. With these tips in mind, you are well on your way to acing your driver awareness course.

How can I stay focused during my driver awareness course?

Maintaining focus during a driver awareness course can be challenging, especially if you're not accustomed to long classroom sessions. However, it's crucial to remember that each lesson is designed to enhance your driving skills and safety. Start by getting a good night's sleep before the course. A well-rested mind is more likely to retain information and stay alert throughout the day.

Also, consider having a hearty breakfast. Hunger can be a significant distraction, so ensure you're adequately fueled up. During the course, actively participate in discussions and engage with the instructor and fellow students. This can make the learning process more interesting and easier to focus on.

In addition, take notes. Not only does it help you remember the key points, but it also keeps your mind engaged with the material being presented. Breaks are also vital for maintaining focus. Use them to stretch, get some fresh air, or simply relax your mind. Lastly, adopt a positive attitude towards the course. Remember that what you learn could potentially save your life on the road in the future. This mindset can help make even the most mundane topics seem important and worth your attention.

Impact of the course on your insurance

While a speed awareness course can help you avoid a speeding conviction, whether this will affect your insurance premiums depends entirely on your insurance provider. Some insurers might ask if you've ever completed a speed awareness course, and if they do, answering 'yes' might result in higher premiums.

However, it's important to note that you're legally obligated to disclose this information to your insurer if asked. Intentionally lying on your insurance forms can lead to increased premiums or even complete invalidation of your insurance.

Convicted driver insurance considerations

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A speed awareness course can be a valuable learning opportunity for drivers who've been caught speeding. It offers the chance to revisit the Highway Code, understand the consequences of speeding, and learn how to become a safer driver.

While the thought of spending a few hours in a classroom may not seem appealing, the benefits of attending a speed awareness course far outweigh the drawbacks. Not only will you avoid points on your licence and a potential increase in insurance premiums, but you'll also gain vital knowledge that will make you a safer driver on the road.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to ensure everyone's safety on the road, and a speed awareness course is a significant step in that direction.

Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible for a speed awareness course?

Not every motorist caught speeding is eligible for a speed awareness course. The invite to a course is only extended to individuals who meet certain criteria. To begin with, you'll only get the chance to attend one if you've admitted to being the driver of the vehicle at the time of the speeding offence and if you haven't already attended one within the 3 years prior to your current speeding offence.

Moreover, your speed must have been within certain limits and you can't have committed any further offences at the time of the speeding offence. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you'll be contacted by the police through a letter, offering you the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course.

Can you appeal a speeding offence?

While you have the freedom to appeal against your speeding offence, you should be aware that once you lodge an appeal, the offer to attend the course will be rescinded. If you plead not guilty, you'll end up having to go to court.

Should the court find you guilty of speeding, you could face a larger fine and more penalty points. The amount you'll be fined will depend entirely on what the speed limit was and how much you were exceeding it. It's a risky move to appeal, so think carefully before making this decision.

What are the cost and providers of speed awareness courses?

The cost of a speed awareness course can fluctuate depending on where you reside, but typically you're looking at paying between £80 to £100. Although this may be equivalent to the fine you would otherwise have to pay, choosing the course means you won't have 3 points added to your driving licence.

These courses are led by independent companies regulated by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS), in collaboration with local police. You can only book a course if you've received an offer from the police.

What if I'm late or can't attend my appointment?

It's essential to be punctual for your speed awareness course. If you're late, you won't be allowed to join the class. In case of illness, you should inform the provider as soon as possible. You're likely to need a doctor's note as proof. The police will then review your case and decide whether to offer you another chance to take the course.

Do I have to pay for a speed awareness course?

Yes, you do. The cost varies depending on the course provider and the region you live in. On average, you'll have to pay between £80 to £100.

How often can I take a speed awareness course?

You can only attend a speed awareness course once every 3 years. If you commit another speeding offence, you'll have to pay the fine and get points on your licence.

Why should I take a speed awareness course?

Choosing to attend a speed awareness course is definitely a better option than receiving a fine and points on your licence. Points on your licence can increase your insurance premiums, and if you accumulate too many points, you risk disqualification from driving.

While spending 4 to 5 hours in a classroom may not seem ideal, it's a small price to pay to avoid the possibility of getting disqualified from driving. Furthermore, you will learn vital information and skills to help you become a safer driver, which in the long run will benefit your car insurance options.

How can I remove points from my UK driving licence?

In the UK, a fine and penalty points on your driving licence can be a significant burden, potentially increasing your insurance premiums and even leading to a driving ban. However, these points are not permanent. They usually remain on your license for four or 11 years, depending on the offence. After this period, they automatically expire and are removed from your licence.

You can check the status of your points by visiting the DVLA website. Unfortunately, there's no quick fix or legal loophole to instantly remove points from your licence. The best course of action is to drive safely and responsibly to avoid further points.

How many penalty points can get on a driving licence?

Many of us tend to take it for granted, but the privilege of driving is something that should be handled with utmost responsibility. It's not just about getting from point A to point B; it's about ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. But what happens when we violate traffic rules? The answer lies in the penalty points system.

If you're found guilty of a driving offence, you'll receive a certain number of penalty points on your driving licence. The number of points depends on the severity of the offence, ranging from speeding to drink-driving. For instance, in the UK, drivers can accumulate up to 12 points within a three-year period before they face disqualification.

Remember, these points aren't badges to be flaunted. They are serious warnings that signify a breach of law and can lead to grave consequences. So, next time you're on the road, make sure you're abiding by all the traffic rules- not just for yourself, but for everyone's safety.

How can I brush up my driving skills?

Brushing up your driving skills is not just about getting behind the wheel but also about increasing your knowledge and understanding of road safety rules. Relearning or revisiting the rules of the road is essential. This includes traffic signs, signals, and markings which are all essential for safe driving. Reading up on updated driving manuals or handbooks can provide this information.

Practising regularly can also brush up your driving skills. If you're nervous about certain aspects like parallel parking or merging onto a highway, practice these skills in a calm, controlled environment before attempting them in heavy traffic.