4×4 Driving Days and Off Roading Events

Off road 4×4 driving, teambuilding and corporate event days

Many of my colleagues and clients offer off road and 4×4 driving adventure days and corporate events at sites overlooking the Lake District in Cumbria, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, in delightful east Devon, across the Midlands, the Scottish Borders and Highlands. Often in spectacular landscapes, always in excellently appointed venues, you will get to drive one of their Land Rovers or ATVs. Between them our sites cover thousands of acres of some of the finest landscape in the UK.

The vast majority of our events take place solely on private land. Many of my 4×4 training clients are National Park Rangers and organisations who spend a lot of time repairing tracks after mis-use by 4x4s and off-road experience organisers. All of the venues I recommend are maintained by our colleagues who operate the treks and 4×4 corporate events.

In complete safety, you will be accompanied by a fully qualified off road driving leader, helping you to negotiate steep rocky climbs, mud ruts, grass slopes, water crossings, and cliff descents!

Your experience will be adapted to suit you – groups of up to 60 people can all enjoy the driving thrill. Catering for anything from 1 hour to a full day event, other activities, such as shooting, fishing, bushcraft or teambuilding, can be added to pack your day with excitement.

Working with some of the most exacting clients and events management companies ensures that everything runs to plan, on time and to budget.

If you are a corporate event organiser looking to add 4×4 driving to your offering, please get in touch. There are trainers and venues across the whole of the UK who are set up to provide the most professional events, using only the best instructors.

With experience of running 4×4 vehicle promotional events for some of the biggest names in the automotive industry and with off-road sites which can showcase your products to their best advantage, there are experts who can help. Whether you are a local dealer looking to promote your business through an off-road event, or an international name looking to launch a new model.


MTF Driver Training

Devon 4×4 Training


Lake District 4×4


Protec Training

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How to become a 4×4 Instructor

4×4 Instructor Courses:

Training to be a 4×4 or Off Road Instructor is something that many recreational offroaders think will lead to their dream job, and many candidates on off-road courses are interested in whether they could become instructors themselves.

I felt that I needed to write this page as I wanted to make sure that people really understood what the legalities and realities are surrounding 4×4 instruction.

There are a lot of 4×4 instructor courses out there which claim to qualify you as a “Fully Certified 4×4 Off-Road Instructor”. While these courses may give you experience in driving off-road and some help with how to show a novice what to do in certain situations, they do not licence you to do it as a job.

Professional off-road instructors have a sound basis in instructional techniques, excellent knowledge of the H&S legislation surrounding driving at work and full knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the whole range of 4×4 vehicles.

In order to train anyone in how to use a 4×4 (on road or off) you should first qualify as a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor (DVSA ADI). If you are not a DVSA ADI and you offer instruction in a category B vehicle (any 4×4 effectively) for money (or money’s worth) then strictly speaking, you may be breaking the law (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/49/schedule/6 and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/123. BORDA, LANTRA and RoSPA run 4×4 Instructor qualification processes, though if you are not an ADI these may only be relevant if you intend to instruct on a voluntary basis. Charging for instruction, or using the qualifications as part of a job is not recommended without being a DVSA registered ADI. (see the 2013 correspondence I received from the DSA regarding the legality of 4×4 instruction.)

Though some training providers may argue there are legal grey areas, as this has not yet been tested in court (I have no intention of being involved in any such test case), I feel that there is significant legal guidance on this issue.

Currently, Lantra-Awards, NPTC, RoSPA and BORDA are all aware of the issue surrounding category B vehicle instruction and Approved Driving Instructor registration. None of these organisations are currently insisting that their instructors are ADIs. Some accreditation bodies quote various exemptions, however, none of them have been given specific exemptions from the legislation above.

I feel that it is essential that 4×4 trainers meet the simple, but rigorous, criteria that DVSA registration requires of instructors.

If you want any clarification on the requirements, I have found that asking the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – the government organisation who administer the register of Approved Driving Instructors for written guidance will provide a clear answer.

Have a look at some more information on who LANTRA, BORDA and the DVSA are.

If you are interested in becoming a 4×4 instructor, have a look at one of my blogs:

Training to be a 4×4 instructor – this article outlines all of the stages that I and colleagues went through in order to become off-road instructors – a long and expensive process.

The job itself is great, but there’s much more importance placed on Health & Safety and risk assessments than throwing 4x4s off cliffs. Professional operators need to know exactly what they should be doing with reference to all of the relevant legislation. Off-roader drivers need to know all of the relevant techniques to ensure that they don’t kill themselves or anyone else!

Qualifications required:

  • 5 years off-road driving experience
  • Wide knowledge of transmissions, differentials and other fitted equipment on a variety of different vehicles
  • Instructional techniques (for those not qualified as ADIs, a PTLLS certificate or similar is ideal)
  • First Aid qualification
  • H&S qualification (ideally level two, such as the IOSH Managing Safely qualification)
  • Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor registration (unless working outside the UK, with the MOD, or as a volunteer trainer within the charity sector)

I can provide 4×4 instructor training for in-house assessors or instructors where required, and I am more than happy to offer advice, guidance and assistance to anyone looking to become an instructor, or who requires staff or organisation members to become qualified as instructors under any of the national certification schemes.

In-house 4×4 Instructor Course/Assessor Training:

  • Lantra-Awards 4×4 Professional Off-Road Driving course – I deliver this over 2 days to candidate instructors and use both permanent 4wd vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender, as well as the more common selectable 2-4wd pick-up trucks.
  • Basic training skills, such as EDIP, levels of instruction or similar method of training candidates in new skill aquisition – can be omitted for clients only requiring assessor training, to avoid the ADI registration requirement
  • Assessment, fault finding, analysis and remedial action
  • Session planning, site risk assessment and criteria based training assessment

Potential candidates for 4×4 Instructor courses will be expected to have extensive experience in off-road vehicles and environments, and an excellent all-round knowledge of transmissions, differentials, diff-locks and vehicle equipment. We would also anticipate candidates having excellent communication skills and training or supervising experience, preferably with formal training in instruction/assessment.

I have helped off-road experienced ADIs to become Lantra-Awards instructors, and trained instructors working within the emergency services, national and international organisations and companies.

If you want to become a 4×4 instructor, or are already an ADI and want to bring your off-road experience into your career, I would love to hear from you:


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Changing cultures through driver training

The End of Driver Training?

Within the driver training industry (and it is an industry, with it’s own pressures and commercial ends), we are bombarded with case studies proving that one company or another has managed to reduce incidents by massive amounts.

Unfortunately, it seems that no-one really knows how this works!

IOSH and the TRL published a report, which looked into the available studies in an attempt to discover exactly what it is that companies do in order to achieve the results that the press releases herald. (pdf report – Work related road safety literature review-1).

Unfortunately for those of us who have for many years prided ourselves on the quality of our training, to be told that there is no evidence that driver training has any effect is actually quite difficult to hear.

However, hear it we must. We have to accept that there is a limited role for skills based driver training, which is just that – to teach skills. To complement this, we need to concentrate on changing attitudes and improving the accuracy and understanding of drivers’ risk perceptions.

It may surprise some that, according to the IOSH/TRL report, the best way to do this may not be in a vehicle at all.

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Road Safety Observatory

New website which looks as though it could help those of us who always look for evidence before stating something categorically!

Road Safety Observatory

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Driver skills training and the perception of risk.

Since the studies of the 1990’s on Nordic Skid Pan Training, there have been many discussions on whether driver training should focus on skills training. The general consensus is that it is preferable (from a driver safety point of view) to focus instead on fine tuning the perception of risk.

All driving courses include an element of risk perception. The ‘Look, Assess, Decide, Act’ (LADA) routine as described in ‘Driving: The Essential Skills’ and the integration of the Information part of ‘Roadcraft’s’ IPSGA throughout  manouevres are both focussed on anticipating risk.

Driver Training and increasing risk perception

However, many courses still appear to the candidate to be about improving ‘advanced driving’ skills, whether they be cornering or overtaking techniques on road, or descending steep slopes on off-road training courses. Some companies still see skid pan courses as useful training, rather than as a very small part of a larger picture with regards to driver development.

This is because learning new skills and testing one’s ability is fun! We can sell excitement. Everyone wants to slide a BMW around an airfield, or drive a Land Rover over what looks like a cliff-edge. Selling risk assessment and risk perception courses isn’t quite so simple!

There are several studies showing that a successful driver safety programme must be assessed carefully before being implemented, to ensure that candidates’ confidence in their skills is not raised higher than their abilitiy to accurately percieve risk. All of the driver training courses and 4×4 training designed for the Beyond Driving group are aimed at increasing the anticipation and understanding of risk.

More can be done. Rather than handing out pointless feedback forms at the end of training sessions, which the majority of candidates will tend to fill out quickly and without thought, we need to give them time to reflect on the experience and respond. Where possible, follow-up assessments should be made, to find out whether an increased perception and understanding of risk at the end of a training session is still in evidence some months down the line.

Drivers who lack the ability to accurately recognise hazards and assess potential risk, will find it impossible to plan how to negotiate them.

This skill is undoubtedly the single most important goal of any driver training course, but for many years in driver training, especially in the off-road driving world I work in, the cart has traditionally been put before the horse.

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4x4 Training and Roadcraft

Off Road Driver Training – the future?

There’s been a lot of politics about the legality of training carried out off-road, much of which pre-dates my involvement in driver training, but which seems to be coming to a head at the moment.

Whether there will be any movement by those bodies who currently certificate off-road driving courses, I don’t know, but there will be some changes to the way that the driver training industry approaches 4×4 training.

There are several well qualified (DSA ADI, Fleet, Lantra-Awards and RoSPA qualified) now advocating an integrated approach to training 4×4 operators. The old distinction between defensive driving and off-roading is disappearing and the 4×4 courses currently in development will work to the Roadcraft system of car control (Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Accelleration, Information – IPSGA for short). Unlike the DSAs LADA and MSPSL routines, the advanced driving system can be applied in all conditions.

4x4 Training and Roadcraft

The fleet training world as a whole is beginning to understand 4x4s and are turning to the old agricultural trainers who were the bastions of the old off-road training courses less and less. Companies such as our 4×4 training provider have been at the forefront of this change.

By applying the same systemic approach to driving which has transformed the emergency services, advanced driving and fleet training in the last few decades, we should see a reduction in occupational incidents on-road as well as off from these courses. I’ve written elsewhere about the fact that the major risk factor for 4×4 fleet operators is not the brief moments crossing fields, but the long periods on-road – especially rural roads.

There will always be discussions about best practice. Currently we’re trying to get rid of the fallacy of the bow-wave in all but extreme emergency/expedition situations, as well as the dangerous practice of recommending a forced stall on failed ascents which actually breaks the Health and Safety at Work Act by switching off safety systems. However, these are details. The whole approach to driving off-road is changing and coming in to line with best advanced driving practice, for that we give thanks.

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Evidence Based Driver Training

It was once a common feature of the Internet that you had to take everything with a pinch of salt. Thankfully some sites are now relatively trustworthy.

For example:

The TRL Library

DfT Road Casualty Stats

Just having a quick flick through those three will get you thinking. It may also make you irritated and bored, or it may make you wish you could redesign STATS19 so you could prove that 4x4s are actually a much higher risk than company cars…

I started this ‘evidence based’ journey a while ago. It seemed so simple. All I had to do was find the statistics that the press releases were based on, and I’d be sorted….

It’s not that simple though. Especially if you’re not a mathematician.

Keep an open mind and, before you say anything, bear in mind you may be asked to prove it.
Evidence Based Driver Training“I need stats. Lots of stats….”

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DSA Statement on the Legality of Off-Road Driver Training

Article originally appeared in 2012 on another website.)

Some 4×4 instructors have received conflicting information regarding whether the government’s Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) feel that 4×4 trainers should be Approved Driving Instructors (DVSA ADIs). Some time ago we decided to call the DSA (as they were then, prior to their merger with VOSA) ourselves and unfortunately had a similarly confusing time finding someone who was willing to give an official statement.

As ever, we knew the DSA were happy to reply to emails, though there is usually some delay, so we emailed Rosemary Thew:

You have previously (several years ago) confirmed that there is no exemption from the requirements of the RTA and RSA for paid instructors in category B vehicles, whether training post test or off-road.

Recent phone calls to the DSA by colleagues (and finally yesterday by myself) have received contradictory advice. Similar to my colleagues, I was initially informed by an examiner from Technical Standards that it was not a legal requirement to be an ADI. Once I requested the exemption from the legislation in writing, this advice was then downgraded to ‘it doesn’t come under the DSA Regulations’ with the reasoning that it was post-test training and was undertaken on private land. He admitted that it may be illegal and asked me to contact yourself for clarification.

Could you please let me know whether there is any exemption to the requirement to be on the register of Approved Driving Instructors when being paid to train in a category B 4×4 vehicle with full licence holders on private land?

I appreciate that the DSA do not make the law and that as you have limited experience in this area you may not wish to pursue prosecutions, but I would appreciate the opinion of the DSA as to whether you think the law applies here.

If there has been a change to the legislation, an exemption or derogation for 4×4 trainers (or for any vocational driver training post-test) I would appreciate details.

If there has been no change and your previous advice that all paid driver trainers of category B vehicles should be on the register, regardless of whether the candidates have licences or the training is undertaken off-road, could you please ensure that your staff understand this and avoid giving out potentially incorrect advice.

I provide a lot of guidance for trainers and businesses, so would appreciate being able to quote the DSA in this matter both in meetings and correspondence as well as publicly on my websites. I have no wish to mis-represent either yourselves or the facts, but if you are unhappy to provide a public statement please let me know.

Subsequently, we received this response from Carole Hodgson of Corporate Correspondence, which confirms that their stance has not changed:

Thank you for your email of 19 March about off road driving tuition.

I am sorry we have given you conflicting information.

There has been no change to the legislation. The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Section 123) – renders it a criminal offence to provide driving instruction for money or monies worth unless the driving instructor is registered or licensed to give instruction in accordance with Section 123(1).

Section 123 applies to all paid tuition, regardless of whether the person receiving instruction possesses a full licence or not. Section 123 applies to instruction on public and private roads and also to off road tuition.

This, and more recent correspondence to colleagues and certificating bodies, confirms our feelings that all 4×4 training, both on-road or off-road, and whether involving category B licence holders or not, should only be undertaken by DVSA ADIs.

Possible offences may not be limited to the person by whom instruction is given (the instructor) but also “if that person is employed by another to give that instruction, that other, as well as that person, is guilty of an offence.”. (RTA 1988 Section 123 4b)

We would like to re-iterate that we are happy to correspond with and help any organisation, training provider, training body or instructors who wish to ensure that their training is run with road safety legislation and health and safety legislation.

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Lantra insist 4×4 trainers must be ADIs

(This article originally appeared on another website in August 2011.)

Lantra-Awards are currently working towards the goal of having all of their 4×4 instructors qualified as DSA ADIs. This will ensure their legality as well as their competence. At Beyond Driving we have insisted that all of our trainers be DSA ADIs since we formed in 2006. We are still the only national 4×4 training provider who guarantee to only provide DSA ADIs on all category B training courses.

4×4 Instructors will be qualified to higher standards

August 2011:

In an email from Lantra to all 4×4 trainers on Friday 12th August 2011, we have been informed that Lantra have now decided that all of their 4×4 instructors will need to be DSA registered ADIs. Quoting section 123 of the Road Traffic Act 1998 (and specifically its application ‘…to off road tuition’), they have asked all of their 4×4 trainers, as well as ATV trainers to either provide them with their current ADI registration details, or to give information about whether they intend to undertake the training and stringent DSA examinations in order to qualify for the Register of Driving Instructors.

As far as we know, Lantra are the first and only nationally recognised training body for 4×4 vehicles who have insisted that all of their instructors comply with the legislation. Lantra are determined that all of their trainers will be both legal and competent.

As we have been working with all of the parties to bring the 4×4 training industry in line with the legislation, we give Lantra our full support in what has been a difficult decision. We have lobbied both Lantra and the DSA to give a definite and clear message on trainer legality both to instructors and clients over the last few years. We are very glad that our efforts have finally been acknowledged.

We understand that many organisations may not be able, for economic or other reasons, to train all of their 4×4 instructors to a standard where they can pass the ADI registration examinations. This may mean that the cost of 4×4 training increases, due to reduced numbers of trainers as well as higher qualification standards required.

We intend to provide trainers with the highest qualifications, most experience and a determination to provide the best professional training achievable, while remaining competitively priced. For example, at the time of writing, the cost for the 2 day Lantra Professional Off-Road Driving course for 3 candidates at our venue in Cumbria is £1000. This includes hire of the 300 acre off road site, conference room, lunches and refreshments as well as the Lantra certification (upon achieving the required standard). Cost per candidate – less than £350. Our main trainer in Cumbria is a Lantra Approved 4×4 and ATV trainer, a DSA registered Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), a SAFED commercial vehicle fuel efficient defensive driving trainer, DSA registered Fleet Driver Trainer and he holds the NEBOSH General Certificate in Health and Safety and is trained in First Aid. He has trained the NHS, the military, police, national park rangers, coastguards and personnel from national and multi-national industry – even the occasional farmer has been through the course and found it useful!

Why should you expect anything less?

2012 UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to pressure from some trainers and training providers who are not currently using DSA ADIs for their training, Lantra-Awards have decided not to implement the following process. We feel that they have missed an opportunity to bring occupational 4×4 training up to date and into the professional world. For a bit more information have a look at the 4×4 Instructor Training article, and the DSA Statement on the Legality of 4×4 Trainers.

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