The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Today, practical tests restart across England and Wales! This means that PassMeFast can start helping students to get their licence once more.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, driving tests will still be slightly different. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about practical tests restarting, including the safety measures you need to take.
Driving tests restart: Your questions answered
Where have practical tests restarted?
Today’s reopening means that learners in England and Wales can now take their driving test. This represents 89% of the UK! Fortunately, the rest of the country isn’t too far behind. In Northern Ireland, tests will start tomorrow, on 23rd April. The wait for Scottish learners will be slightly longer: tests will only restart in Scotland on 6th May. Check out our April 2021 news roundup for the latest!
Will driving tests work differently now?
We anticipate that driving tests will work in the same way as they did prior to the most recent lockdown. However, there will be changes compared to the pre-pandemic situation. First, if you make a serious or dangerous fault, both of which result in a fail, the examiner will curtail your test by directing you back towards the test centre. There will also be extra time between each candidate, which may mean that your local centre carries out fewer tests per day. Additional safety measures are listed below.
Will the waiting room be open at my local test centre?
The picture here varies by test centre. The majority of waiting rooms will be open—in fact, 222 of them! Another 75 will remain closed. In these cases, it’s likely that the waiting rooms cannot be adapted to COVID safety regulations. Another 51 centres have no waiting room, while another 3 have a separate waiting area not under DVSA rules. For the full picture, check out our guide to driving test centre waiting rooms.
What safety measures will there be during my practical test?
The DVSA has put in place the following safety measures in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Instructors and accompanying drivers cannot sit in the back of the car during test
- Examiners must wear ‘suitable clothing providing as much covering as possible’, as well as a face covering
- Regular handwashing is in place, with examiners expected to wash their hands before and after each test
- Social distancing is required outside of the vehicle, and candidates cannot touch the examiner’s iPad, stylus or paperwork
- Your examiner may use an antiviral wipe to clean touch points within your car
- If a candidate presents any symptoms of COVID-19, they will be prevented from taking the test; if these arise during the test, it will be stopped
- Windows will be open throughout the test to let fresh air circulate throughout the car
- The debrief may take place outside of the car to minimise time spent inside
You can find full details in our article on driving lesson and practical test safety.
Will I need to take any extra precautions myself before my test?
There are several ways by which you can help to keep practical tests safe. Firstly, wash your hands thoroughly before your test, or use hand sanitiser. Next, do not arrive at the test centre until 5 minutes before your appointment at the earliest. You should also wear a face covering during your test; in Scotland, this is a legal requirement. Finally, if you think you may have COVID-19, or test positive for the virus, do not attend your test.
Should I test for COVID-19 before taking my test?
The government is encouraging all students to take lateral flow tests for COVID-19 prior to their driving test. These are available on-demand to everyone in England. In Wales, anyone who cannot work from home can collect one; if you travel to work, your employer may be able to help you to access the tests. Full information is available via GOV.UK for learners in England and learners in Wales. Information on ordering tests in England is available via the NHS website, while test collection information for Wales is available from the Welsh Government.
What’s the situation for driving lessons and theory tests?
Driving lessons and theory tests both restarted in England and Wales on 12th April. In Northern Ireland, they will restart on the same day as practical tests: 23rd April. Scottish learners have the longest wait, with lessons and theory tests not restarting in the country until 26th April.
I don’t have a test booked yet. When could I take one?
The DVSA has some bad news on this front, unfortunately. With three lockdowns having come and gone, there have been plenty of cancelled driving tests across the country. In fact, there have been 420,000 cancellations as a result of the pandemic, causing a backlog that may take around five months to clear.
That’s a long wait! How can I get an earlier test?
You’ve come to the right place! PassMeFast specialises in securing the best possible driving test appointments for our students. Thanks to our fast-tracking service, we can bring forward your test date and get you passed earlier than the average. Want to get on board? Ring us on 0333 123 4949, or click the button below to book your driving lessons and test with us!