Average Driver or Advanced Driver?

In a European study that examined the psychology of road safety, it was found that different people respond differently towards other drivers when interacting on the road. The research identified seven driver personalities, such as The Competitor, who always needs to be ahead, and The Escapee, who must have some form of audio going – talking on a cell phone included. These driver types match a lot of the traits and habits of average drivers. 

In one simple phrase, an advanced driver is –  according to MasterDrive – “a driver that is better than average” – meaning, one that is accomplished, competent, and exceptional. Sadly, most good drivers are merely average, because exceptional competence cannot be solely achieved from driving experience on the roads. Rarely do we encounter dangerous or life-threatening situations that we have to negotiate ourselves out of in the blink of an eye. This is what advanced driving teaches and prepares you for. 

More importantly, advanced driving is not only about the ability to manage those extreme conditions, but very much about attitude and how you conduct yourself on the road on a daily basis. 

What is Advanced Driving?

The skill and ability to control a vehicle requires a high standard of driving competence. This competence encompasses personality traits coupled with actual driving skills which many drivers think they have, yet the number of accidents and road deaths in South Africa every year continue to astound. 

Signs of an Advanced vs. Average Driver

The driving style of an advanced driver makes safety a top priority. Speeding (unless in an emergency and approached with safety) is a sure sign of a lack of all the above traits and competencies. Exercising restraint to cut in, overtake, or speed takes a certain amount of level-headedness and a rushed or hurried attitude is a glaring indicator of a less than average driver. 

Driving Skills 

  • Vehicle handling and speed control in a smooth, calm, and systematic way – in any situation.


  • Self-confidence
  • Courteousness 
  • Mindfulness
  • Concentration
  • Observation
  • Anticipation
  • Restraint
  • Intuition
  • Spatial awareness
  • Composure

Good - Advanced Driver Qualities

Bad - Average Driver Qualities

Anticipating & observing

Speeding for no real reason

Showing courtesy

Impatience – cutting in, overtaking 

Smooth and composed style of driving

Hurried and rushed style of driving

Keeping a decent distance while driving and stopping behind

Driving up and stopping too close behind

Focused on the road

Distracted with devices, children, etc.

Tips for Good Driving Habits 

Of course, not having an advanced course under your belt does not make you a bad driver, but neither does simply passing your driver’s test make you a good driver. However, becoming a good driver costs nothing – continually striving to improve your road safety skills is a must. 

The following tips are rules that you would have learnt when studying for your learner’s licence:

  1. Communication – Assumptions result in accidents. Even when it seems obvious, the other driver has no idea what you’re actually intending to do. For example, even if you’re in a Turn Right Only lane, you still have to indicate. 
  2. Patience – Drivers are all too familiar with road rage, but if we all exercised just this one thing and that is patience, we could eliminate it completely.
  3. Limitations – Even good drivers have limitations, and the main one is not being able to read the minds of other road users, so practice defensive driving. Also, understand the power (or lack) of your vehicle and work within its limits. If you don’t think you can overtake a truck quickly enough then don’t. 
  4. Motorbikes, cyclists, pedestrians – These road users deserve as much respect and courtesy as car drivers at the very least. They take up less space on the road and create less air pollution – make way for them and let them ride and walk in safety. 
  5. Basic physics –  for example, travelling speed relative to the distance of other objects in the travelling direction. If an object is closer, slow down ahead of time, not at the very last seconds. Safety aside, you’ll save a lot on your car’s wear and tear

So while an advanced driving course is an excellent investment and highly recommended, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to hone your driving attitude and skills with practice.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. The views and opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Auto Pedigree.