Recent changes to the lockdown rules in England allow young drivers more opportunity to get back out on the roads, and for learner drivers preparing to take a critical driving test, can also get back behind the wheel with a member of their household accompanying them. Whilst this is an exciting time, for some learners, this is nerve-wracking and the thought of driving again can almost seem like you’re preparing for that first driving lesson all over again.
We’ve pulled together some tips and advice to help those learner drivers who are nervous to continue their learning to drive journey with private practice. Remember – you can now drive for the purposes of:
- Getting to work if you are unable to work from home
- Visiting other destinations for exercise and essential appointments
- Shopping for essentials, groceries or medical supplies
It is essential that the journeys taken must require the learner and accompanying driver to be on the same trip, and they must be from the same household. If you or anyone in your household has had symptoms, you should self-isolate, and in these circumstances, you should not drive.
Read the Prime Minister’s address and the government website for the latest information. If you are a driver in Scotland or Wales, the rules around driving may differ, please check the gov.scot website or the gov.wales website for their specific advice. For further information about learning to drive during this pandemic, please see our blog here. You can also see our COVID-19 page for further information. Whilst the restrictions on driving are starting to ease in England, it is essential you follow all government advice.
1 – Go back to basics
Do you remember what you learned in your first driving lessons with an instructor? If you’re worried about driving, it’s a good idea to start there. Not only will this remind you what to do but it’ll help build your confidence back up again! Re-familiarise yourself with the cockpit, test the biting point, check your mirrors and do all the things you did in those first lessons before you set off. It’s all about knowing your surroundings if you’re nervous.
2 – Find somewhere quiet to drive
It’s not ideal to head out into a busy city centre if you’re worried about driving, even if you’re almost test ready! Keep yourself and others safe by finding quiet areas away from the chaos to start off again. You’ll soon pick your confidence back up and be ready to take your driving practice somewhere more complex to work on your driving.
3 – Prepare ahead
If you’re worried about getting back behind the wheel a good way to keep calm and in control is to have a plan in place. Decide where you want to go, how long you plan to drive for and what you want to practice. Having this plan in place will help to keep your mind focused on the task ahead. It’s also worth getting some tips online if you’re anxious – we’ve got loads of blogs from young drivers in the same situation as you. The lovely Meg has shared her tips and advice for nervous new drivers, and Brogan went on his first private driving practice with his Mum and filmed it for you.
4 – You don’t have to learn anything new
Don’t put pressure on yourself to learn everything you need to pass your test whilst doing private practice. Your driving instructor is the best way to learn how to pass your test, they’ll show you what you’ll be tested on and what the examiner will be looking out for. What private practice can do is help you perfect the things you’ve already been taught. For instance, if you had a lesson on parallel parking before lockdown, spend some time remembering what your instructor taught you and getting it right. That way when tests are back up and running, you can use instructor time learning the things you don’t know yet – not going over things they’ve already taught you.
5 – Take some of the pressure off
Just because learners are allowed back out on the road to get in private practice, don’t push yourself too much too soon. You’re allowed to feel worried and anxious about driving, especially after taking a long break like we’ve seen. No one is expecting you to jump behind the wheel and all of a sudden drive like Lewis Hamilton, it just doesn’t work like that. Set yourself some small goals to try and achieve but don’t stress if you don’t achieve them. This is time to make learning to drive enjoyable and smooth journey.
Keep your cool, take your time and go back to basics and if it’s all too much there’s no harm in taking a break. If you feel like your confidence behind the wheel has gone completely, here’s 5 tips to gain that confidence back up again!
When driving lessons with an instructor start again, they’ll be expecting you to be a bit rusty so don’t worry. If you can, get out and about with private practice and regain your confidence as well as getting used to practising all those manoeuvres again!
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