As the UK continues returning to normality, we’ve just hit a major milestone on the roadmap out of lockdown. For many people across the country, 12th April meant a return to the gym, the pub or the hairdressers. At PassMeFast, though, the excitement was due to the return of driving lessons across England and Wales.
Though learners across the country are now free to get back behind the wheel, there are still some important rules to follow. Join us as we run through our quick guide to driving lessons after lockdown.
Learners across England hadn’t been able to take lessons with their ADI since 4th January due to lockdown restrictions. However, since the announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown, we’ve been counting down the days until tuition could restart.
Due to the UK’s devolved governments, things will work a little differently across each of the Home Nations. In England and Wales, you can start taking driving lessons with an instructor now. However, in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to wait until 23rd April; in Scotland, the date is 26th April.
Here at PassMeFast, we’re already beginning to welcome students back behind the wheel. If you’re taking one of our courses, and are interested in finding out more about how we’re getting back on the road, then check out our COVID-19 advice post.
Though we’re gradually regaining our freedom, it remains as important as ever to stop the spread of COVID-19. That’s why instructors and students alike must adopt safe practices to help keep lessons as safe as possible.
Many of the driving lesson safety measures will be familiar to you if you started learning before lockdown. However, the DVSA is reemphasising the importance of following the hands, face, space and fresh air message.
- Hands: Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for 20 seconds. If you are unable to do so, use hand sanitiser. You may also wish to consider using disposable gloves.
- Face: You must wear a mask or face covering at all times during a lesson, unless you are exempt.
- Space: Though it is not possible to maintain social distancing inside a car, there are still ways to minimise contact. Ask your instructor for verbal or digital notes rather than handwritten copies, and carry out pre- and post-lesson discussions outside the car where possible.
- Fresh air: Leaving windows open during lessons allows fresh air to circulate throughout the car, helping to reduce the airborne spread of COVID-19. It may be cooler inside the car, so remember to dress warmly.
Remember: if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have had a positive test result, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, then you should not attend any lessons or tests.
During lockdown, private practice was only possible during essential journeys. Now, however, the advice has changed. It is no longer a requirement that your journey must be essential. However, it is advisable that you try to minimise travel where possible. In addition, in Scotland, you must stay local when practising.
- The supervising driver must be over the age of 21
- They must hold a valid licence for the same category of vehicle that you’re practising in
- They must have held a UK or EU/EEA licence for at least 3 years
For more information, check out our guide to practising driving outside lessons.
Gearing up for the test
Lessons reopening is the first step to driving tuition getting back to normal. In England and Wales, theory tests are already back underway, and we don’t have long to wait until practical tests resume on 22nd April! As for our Scottish learners, sit tight—it’s only a couple of weeks until you can get back on the road, too.
In the short term, we’re expecting longer waits for practical tests, as the DVSA works to clear a large backlog created by three UK-wide lockdowns. Nonetheless, PassMeFast is working to get our students on the road as quickly as possible. It’s our goal to be your faster route to driving!
If the long break has left you feeling a little out of sorts, we’re here to help. We’ve got a wealth of content on our blog to help you get back into driving, including our How-To Guides covering a range of useful skills. We also have advice for different types of learner after lockdown.