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Learning to drive in pandemic

Can I learn to drive during lockdown?

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

December 2, 2020

Learning to drive News 11 min read

Updated: 2nd December 2020

With ever changing restrictions, learner drivers and parents around the country will be wondering if driving lessons and driving tests will be suspended and cancelled, and what is happening next!

We’ve got the answers on whether you can still learn to drive in lockdown and other questions that may be on your mind! This government advice is changing day by day, so we’ll aim to keep this article up to date with the latest guidance. Feel free to pop back every now and then to see if further information is available!

Can I learn to drive during covid lockdown?

Many people are asking ‘can you still learn to drive during covid?’ and during this confusing time, it’s a good question to ask. The advice varies slightly dependent on where you live.

Driving lessons with an instructor have resumed in Wales.

Driving tests and lessons in Northern Ireland are cancelled from Friday 27th November – 10th December. If your test is booked during this time you will be contacted letting you know what to do.

Lessons with a driving instructor have resumed in England across all 3 tiers.

In Scotland, driving tests are taking place in council areas in local COVID protection levels 0-3. Driving tests are suspended in the local council areas at level 4. You must not travel out of a level 4 area to take your driving test elsewhere.

Depending on local restrictions learners may still be able to practise their driving on government sanctioned journeys with a member of their household with learner driver insurance in place. Read on to find out more.

Can I take my son or daughter out for driving lessons during lockdown?

There is currently no guidance on taking private driving practice for learner drivers. However we expect that learners would be allowed to take the wheel depending on if their local guidelines allow them to take driving lessons which currently, all do. This is of course provided that should you live somewhere with tighter restrictions (tier 3 in England for example) you do not travel to a lower tier area.

It goes without saying that anyone self-isolating should not leave home at all.

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Are driving lessons cancelled during lockdown?

If you’re wondering whether driving lessons are going ahead during covid lockdown, the answer will depend on where you live – we’ve highlighted where you can and can’t have driving lessons just now.

In England driving lessons resumed on the 2nd December in all tiers

In Wales the 2-week firebreak is over, so learner drivers are able to resume driving lessons with an instructor.

In Northern Ireland driving lessons began again on the 13th November, however there is a two-week circuit breaker happening from 27th November – 10th December which means all tests during this time will be canceled.

In Scotland, no countrywide suspension has been announced. However, lessons may be affected in areas with higher local restrictions – e.g. if you’re local area is in level 4. Your driving instructor is likely to keep in touch with regards local changes that may affect your lessons.

When will driving lessons restart?

In Scotland and Wales, you are currently able to take driving lessons depending on local restrictions. If you’re unsure, keep in touch with your driving instructor.

In Northern Ireland, driving lessons will be suspended from 27th November – 10th December.

In England, driving lessons have started again from the 2nd December.

Are theory and practical driving tests cancelled during lockdown?

The answer will depend on where you live. To make it easy, we’ve split these out by the 4 nations below:

England

Theory Tests and Practical Tests – Tier 1 & 2: All tests are resuming on the 2nd December for those in tier 1 and 2 areas of England.

Theory Tests and Practical Tests – Tier 3: All tests for those in tier 3 will resume on the 3rd December with new additional measures in place – this includes reducing the amount of tests an examiner will conduct to 5 per day. For those who are unable to wear a face covering during your test, your test may be delayed until your area leaves tier 3.

Scotland

Practical Tests: At present driving tests are still going ahead in Scotland. However, if your driving test will be affected to due local restrictions, the DVSA will get in touch with you.

Theory Tests: Currently Theory Tests are still going ahead in Scotland, dependent on local restriction. If you have a test booked and are affected, the DVSA will be contacting you.

Wales

Theory tests and Practical Tests have resumed in Wales following the 2-week firebreak. If you have had a test cancelled during lockdown the DVSA should have been in contact with you.

Northern Ireland

Theory Tests and Practical Tests: Driving tests between 27th November – 10th December will be cancelled due to the introduction of a two-week circuit breaker. Practical Motorcycle testing is no affected by these restrictions.

When will driving tests and theory tests restart and how do I book?

Again, this will vary depending on where you live. At the current time learner drivers in Scotland and Wales are able to take their driving and theory test (subject to any local restrictions).

In England, driving tests and theory tests start on the 2nd December for those in tiers 1 & 2, for those in tier 3, they start again on the 3rd of December with additional measures in place.

In Northern Ireland, these are set to recommence after the two week circuit breaker, on the 10th December.

You can find out how to book your driving test here.

Who can take a driving test during lockdown?

During the first national lockdown essential workers were able to book and take an emergency driving test. There is no specific guidance on this currently but we will keep you posted!

How will the driving test differ after lockdown?

The DVSA has announced a number of social distancing measures and safety precautions, so there will be a few differences, including:

  • You will be asked to wear a face-covering during the driving test (unless you are exempt). Your examiner will wear one too.
  • You’ll be asked to arrive no more than 5 minutes before the session, and the toilets and waiting room will be closed.
  • You won’t be able to have your driving instructor or supervising driver sit in on the driving test.
  • Your driving test will be cut short if you make a serious fault that would cause you to fail, in order to minimise the time in the car.
  • For obvious reasons, if you are self-isolating you will need to cancel your driving test, and will be able to re-book free of charge.

You can read the Government Guidance on driving tests here.

Can I order a provisional licence?

At present you are still able to order your provisional licence. Find out how here.

Where can I get more information?

Keep up to date with information about how coronavirus is impacting driving lessons and tests via the government website.  

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious during these uncertain times, head over to our blog for students dealing with anxiety during the coronavirus.

Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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