What is Essential Driver Training?

EDT stands for Essential Driver Training, a course for learner drivers with permits for category B vehicles, such as cars and light vans. EDT will help you learn some of the most vital driving skills as well as improve your knowledge and understanding of road safety.

There are 12 one-hour lessons in the course. You must take the lessons in the order set out by the time you get to Lesson 9, you and your ADI can decide on the order of lessons 9-12 as you should have enough experience by then. Your ADI will record each lesson in your logbook.

Essential Driver Training

Each lesson has a set of expected outcomes- these describe what you should be able to do at the end of a lesson. Your ADI will select routes that will allow you to use the skills covered in the lesson. At the end of each lesson, your ADI will tell you what skills you should practise with your sponsor. You must play your part and prepare for the next lesson.

Remember- the EDT course alone is not enough to make you a competent driver. You will need to practise as much as possible with your Sponsor, using the skills you have learnt in one lesson to prepare for the next lesson. To get the best from your training, you should spread your lessons over six months and leave at least two weeks between each lesson for practice. Your ADI and your Sponsor will advise you about other instruction and support you may need while you learn to drive.

Why Do I Need To Do EDT?

Studies show that young inexperienced drivers are more likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash so it’s important to get the experience you need during your training.

You must complete the EDT course before you can take your driving test. On the day of your test, the tester may ask to see your Logbook as evidence.

Before you attend your first lesson make sure that you have everything you need. Your ADI will check your learner permit. If you provide the vehicle for your training, they will also check your insurance, motor tax, NCT and the roadworthiness of the vehicle. If your ADI is not happy with any of these, they may not go ahead with your lesson. You must sign a declaration that these are in order before each lesson.

At your first lesson, your ADI will register you and give you your Logbook. They will then set out the aims of the course and any rules about things such as asking questions and taking breaks.

At the end of each lesson, your ADI will stamp and sign your Logbook to confirm that you have completed the lesson. They will also give you feedback on whether you met the outcomes for the first lesson. They will advise you on what you need to practise and how to prepare for the next lesson.

The 12 Lessons are set out as follows

LESSON 1: Car controls and safety checks
LESSON 2: Correct positioning 1
LESSON 3: Changing direction 1
LESSON 4: Progression management
LESSON 5: Correct positioning 2
LESSON 6: Anticipation and reaction
LESSON 7: Sharing the road
LESSON 8: Driving safely through traffic
LESSON 9: Changing direction 2 (more complex situations)
LESSON 10: Speed management
LESSON 11: Driving calmly
LESSON 12: Night driving

Effects of Road and Weather Conditions

Wet Weather:

Visibility can be made worse because at higher speeds vehicles, especially large ones, throw up more spray.

  • Use lead lights to help other drivers see you. Don’t use rear fog lights unless visibility is less than 100 metres.
  • Always reduce your speed when conditions are poor. Driving is safer at lower speeds.
  • Adjust your speed to suit the conditions and leave larger separation distances, at least double the normal.

Weather Conditions

Ice or Frost:

Best advice don’t drive unless absolutely necessary.

The presence of ice or frost can seriously affect four handling of the vehicle. Try to anticipate the road surface conditions. If your steering is light, it is an indication that there may be frost or ice. A very gentle touch of your brakes to see their response could help you judge the road surface conditions.

  • Allow up to ten times the distance for braking.


If there is fog you must be able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear.

  • Use dipped head lights.
  • Check your mirrors and slow down, fog affects both visibility and judgement of speed and distance.
  • Check your speedometer and leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.

Unfortunately, multiple pile ups are all too common in foggy conditions. They don’t just happen. They are caused by drivers who are:

  • Travelling too fast.
  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front.
  • Assuming there’s nothing in the fog ahead.
  • Ignoring the obvious.

Do switch on fog lamps if visibility drops below 100 metres.


Driving HazardsWhat is a Hazard?

A hazard is any situation which could involve adjusting your speed or changing course.

To identify a hazard you must look well ahead for clues such as:

Roadsigns, parked vehicles, changes in road conditions, junctions, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, horse riders, animals, roadworks, roundabouts.

Observing What’s Ahead:

A skillful driver constantly watches and interprets what’s happening ahead.

Remember as soon as you’ve recognised a hazard, you must use the mirrors to assess:

  • How your actions will affect following traffic.

Allowing time and space:

Always leave yourself enough time and space to cope with what’s ahead:

  • Keep your eyes moving
  • Look well ahead
  • Check regularly on what’s following you
  • Watch for clues about what’s going to happen next


A parked car could spell danger if the driver is sitting in it. If you can see vapour from the exhaust in cold weather, this could indicate:

  • A door might open suddenly
  • A car might pull out without warning


Always drive at such a speed that you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear.

A good driver will constantly scan the road ahead and to the side and by frequent use of the mirrors, to be aware of the situation behind.


Drive beyond your limits of vision.

Approaching a bend, ask yourself:

  1. Can I see the full picture?
  2. How sharp is it?
  3. Am I in the right position?
  4. Is my speed right?
  5. What might I meet?
  6. Could I stop if I had to?

Approaching a junction, ask yourself:

  • Have I seen the whole junction?
  • Can other drivers see me?

Speed and Stopping Distance

Stopping distances can be found in your Rues of the Road Book. For dry conditions on page 95 and page 96 for driving in wet conditions.

A god way to judge a safe distance behind another car or vehicle on the road is to apply the two second rule.

SpeedingTwo Second Rule:

In good dry conditions an alert driver who is driving a car with first class tyres and brakes, needs to be at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. In bad conditions, double the safety gap to at least four seconds or even more.

How to Measure:

Choose an obvious stationery reference point ahead, such as a bridge, a tree or a road sign. When the vehicle ahead passes the object say to yourself “only a fool breaks the two second rule”. If you read the object before you finish saying it, you are too close to the car in front of you. In bad conditions say it twice before reach the object.

Remember multiple collisions often happen because the drivers involved were:

  • driving too close
  • unable to break in time

* You can avoid such accidents by looking well ahead and keeping your distance. Give yourself time to react.

Defensive Driving:

When the vehicle behind is driving too close to you, ease off gradually and increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front. This will give you more time to react if the driver ahead should slow down or stop suddenly.