Updated: 1st July 2020
New updates from the government offer welcome news for learners drivers in England. Now, we can all drive for more than just the essential trips to the shops, but we can travel further afield for exercise and time outdoors, which will allow for more opportunity to practice. The lockdown restrictions are currently still in place in Wales, Scotland and NI. We will keep you updated once this changes.
We know you still probably have lots of questions, and whilst we may not have all the answers just now, we’re going to share what information we do have as well as point you in the right direction for further information. This 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 take a learner driver out?
Many people are asking ‘can you still learn to drive during coronavirus?’ and during this confusing time, it’s a good question to ask. There has been no specific advice about learner drivers, however updates to the restrictions allow people to drive more now. So, learner drivers can take private driving practice if they are travelling for a reason as listed below and that they are accompanied by a member of their household (who has held a full driving licence for 3 years or more and is aged over 21 years old – 25 years old if they have Marmalade Learner Driver Insurance).
In England, you can now drive for the purposes of:
- Getting to work if you are unable to work from home
- Visiting other destinations that are allowed to open under current local guidelines
Please note that some areas of the country may be subject to local lockdowns that limit travel, and the guidance around driving may differ in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
- The trip must only be for one of the government-sanctioned reasons for leaving the house. (Check with your local Government for the latest guidelines)
- Both people must be needed for the purpose of the trip.
- The route taken must be direct from the starting point to the final destination.
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When can driving lessons start?
New government guidelines state that driving lessons with an instructor will resume in England from the 4th July. For the rest of the UK, a date has not yet been set on when lessons will be up and running again.
Are theory and practical driving tests cancelled due to Coronavirus/COVID-19?
Theory Tests are currently suspended and until 4th July. Practical driving tests are suspended until 22nd July (unless you are a key worker).
When will driving tests and theory tests restart and how do I book?
Theory tests will resume on 4th July and car driving tests will resume from 22nd July. If your practical driving test was cancelled due to coronavirus and you were emails with a time and date for a new driving test, it will not go ahead (even if the date was after 22nd July), so please don’t turn up!
If your test was cancelled during lockdown you will be sent an email with instructions to go online and book a driving test appointment.
If you did not have a test booked before lockdown, you will not be able to book a driving test just yet, but you can sign up to receive updates on the DVSA website so you can be the first to know when you can!
There are no such restrictions if need to book a theory test. This can be done online.
Who can take a driving test before 22nd July?
Critical workers are still able to apply for an emergency theory or practical driving test. A lot of people are defined as critical workers, including people working in:
- Health and social care
- Education and childcare
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, communication and financial services
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.
What happens if I’m unwell or self-isolating for my driving test?
This answer will only be relevant for critical workers who are taking their driving test at present, or if you have a test booked once they restart. If you’re unwell or in self-isolation with your theory or practical driving test coming up, get in touch with the DVSA to let them know you will not be able to take your test. Also, be sure you let your instructor know if you’re using their car for your test. You can keep up to date with current guidance here!
Can I order a provisional licence?
You can now order your provisional licence after the service was temporarily stopped due to COVID-19. 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 here.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious during these uncertain times, head over to our blog for students dealing with anxiety during the coronavirus.