Last night, I didn’t get three points on my licence. Which was nice – particularly since, after a Notice of Intended Prosecution plopped through my letterbox the other week, I’d been prepared for an addition to my collection.

Instead, I gladly paid up to go on a three-hour ‘Speed Awareness Course’. And I wouldn’t want the occasion to pass without finding out if the class’s experience of these educational opportunities is similar to mine.

The case for attending these things is utterly plain. Instead of paying your £60 fixed penalty and getting your points from the relevant authority, you book a course online with AA DriveTech, choose a date and time that’s convenient for you, and pay £97 for the privilege. Which is probably less than the increase in insurance premium that you would otherwise have to stump up if you took the points. So far, so un-quibble-able.

I showed up last night at an address in Ealing, West London, totally sure that, no matter what happened over the succeeding three hours, I was onto a winner. I was ready for my medicine. And it was unexpectedly palatable.

The course was conducted by a very jovial bloke called Patrick, who did a lot to diffuse the latent skepticism in a room full of people aggrieved about being caught speeding (mostly through the Limehouse tunnel, actually) and only begrudgingly grateful for the chance to avoid a lasting penalty.