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Learner driver stories from COVID-19

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We Are Marmalade

July 30, 2020

Learning to drive 7 min read

When COVID-19 hit the UK, driving lessons and test came to a halt. This meant that learner drivers who were ‘test ready’ could no longer take their driving test, impacting their mental health. We’ve been speaking to 3 learner driver insurance customers who are sharing their stories with us about how the pandemic has personally affected them.

Amy Elliott, 17, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland

I feel I have been greatly affected by the suspension of driving lessons, theory tests and the practical test cancellations. I have had three tests cancelled during the pandemic, the first booked for the 26th March which was cancelled only days before I was due to take it – having prepared myself for it.

I decided to rebook for the 4th April but then got an email to say it had been postponed to the 4th May. Then I got an email to say the second test had been cancelled so I decided to book it again for 28th May. I received a confirmation email for this test stating that social distancing measures were being put in place and that I needed to wear a face mask or I would be turned away. This test was then also cancelled due to the lockdown, it felt like a never-ending cycle in a time where having even a little bit of freedom felt so important.

This has affected my life in a big way since I have become a key worker, working full time in my local supermarket. My parents are also key workers who work full time, meaning I have had to stay at work after my shifts have ended and wait to get a lift home.

As lockdown has eased, I have been off work leaving me feeling trapped in the house alone which has had a deterrent effect on my physical and mental health. As I don’t have my own driving licence, I have not been able to see my boyfriend which has had an impact on our relationship and caused a strain on us as a couple.

I have felt isolated and alone during this period as I am restricted to my house and work. All of my friends have been able to meet up and socially distance while in their own vehicles, but I haven’t got my driving licence yet, so I have been unable to see them. I just wish there had been more pre-warning around this and I could have prepared to some extent.

I am now quite anxious about having to take my test as I was more prepared in March than I am now. I feel as though I have forgotten everything I learned so it will be like starting afresh. It will also be a strange experience with all the social distancing measures in place as they can be quite intimidating. Although I have been driving whilst accompanied by a parent, I no longer feel as confident when I perform any manoeuvres as I have not been practising with my instructor. I have felt quite anxious about finally sitting my test under such circumstances.

Brogan, 19, Peterborough

Before lockdown happened, I felt like I had gotten to a point where I felt very confident and ready for my test, so it goes without saying it was a huge setback for me when it was cancelled. I had prepared myself mentally and had made plans for when I’d passed my test, like buying my first car!

My confidence has taken a knock because I was not driving for almost four months. In an ideal world I would have picked up Learner Driver Insurance but because I was in lockdown with my Dad who has an automatic car, this wasn’t ideal – I’m learning in a manual!

Aside from wanting the freedom that comes with driving, another reason for passing my test was so I could get to and from work. During lockdown however I was put on Furlough, so I was partly glad I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to get to work which I know has been a huge issue for so many other learners who had planned to have passed their test by now.

I’ve thankfully had my first lesson back after lockdown. I was quite rusty and super nervous, but luckily I remembered most things that I’d learnt before the pandemic hit. I also think it helped that there were fewer cars on the road so I could take more time to get back into the swing of things!

Molly Bryan, 17, Worcester

I have had three driving tests cancelled because of COVID-19, on the 20th March, 17th June and 10th July, with one of my tests cancelled just two days before I was due to take it. This has been a real dent in my self-confidence because I worked really hard and had built myself up for the experience. As a 17-year-old, this is such a big part of my life and a rite of passage.

Having my tests cancelled has impacted me in many different ways, especially as my Grandad was suddenly taken very ill and diagnosed with cancer. My mum was relying on me to pass my test to run errands and pick up his medicine which has now all had to be rethought due to my test being cancelled, so more clarity would have been great.

The pressure of having my test cancelled three times, dealing with the mental pressure of lockdown and studying for my A-levels with no school while trying to adjust to the ‘new normal’ has been extremely difficult to deal with.

I have faced financial loss in having to book more driving lessons prior to whenever my new test date will be, to allow me to feel prepared enough for my test when I eventually take it. I haven’t actually had a new test date sent through yet, but I am expecting to have to pay to take at least three extra lessons before and now I will find myself out of pocket due to the lack of communication and the postponement of tests.

I did feel quite annoyed about having to take my test this late from my original booking, but I know that it is for the best safety of everyone involved, but I wish this was better communicated. Luckily, I have the support of a strong family to get me through these times.

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By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

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