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Taking a driving test after coronavirus lockdown

Alex Johnson profile

Alex Johnson

July 16, 2020

News 6 min read

During COVID-19 Learner drivers will have been keeping an eagle eye out for when driving tests will recommence – particularly as many candidates have had their test cancelled one or more times since March! The good news is that, in England, Theory Tests will start again from 4th July and car driving tests will resume from the 22nd July. In Wales, theory tests will start on 3rd August and practical tests will resume on 17th August. Scotland will restart theory tests on 22nd July however driving tests are currently still suspended.

Undoubtedly, there will be a huge backlog of candidates, so many test centres will be operating extended hours in order to deal with the volume of demand when they reopen. We’re sure you’ll have some burning questions about what this will mean to provisional licence holders who are looking to take their practical driving test or theory test soon.

Booking a practical driving test – coronavirus

  • Anyone who had a driving test cancelled during COVID-19 lockdown will need to re-book their test themselves, even if they had received an automatic email with the new date and time after 22nd July. You should receive an email asking to go online and book (if you haven’t already).
  • Currently, the DVSA are prioritising candidates who have had a test cancelled so only those who had a driving test booked prior to lockdown will be able to book a driving test online. If you’re super keen you can sign up for alerts on the government website so you can be first to hear when online booking opens up to everyone.
  • You can still apply for an urgent emergency driving test if you are classed as a critical worker.

Taking a practical driving test – coronavirus

Things will be a little different, so we’ve highlighted what you can expect on the day:

  • The DVSA has introduced social distancing and safety precautions, including:
    • Limiting the number of people arriving at the test centre at the same time
    • Closing the waiting room and toilet facilities (although you will be able to use the toilet if you have a disability or medical condition, or you’re pregnant)
    • PPE for examiners and staff
  • You will be expected to turn up no more than 5 minutes before your appointment and you will be expected to wear a face mask (unless you have a good reason not to). You will be asked to remove the mask briefly while they check your ID.
  • You won’t be able to have your driving instructor or supervisor sit in the back of the car during the test.
  • At the end of the test, you and the examiner will get out of the car and they will share the result and feedback outside.
  • If you make a serious fault during the test that would cause you to fail, the examiner will end the test early, so as to minimise the time spent in the car.
  • You must not come for your test, and must self-isolate if:
    • you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms
    • you’ve been told by the NHS Test and Trace service that you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus
    • you have entered or returned to the UK in the last 14 days, except in very limited situations

If this is the case you will be able to change your driving test date free of charge, even at late notice.

Read full details on Coronavirus and the driving test on the Government website.

Booking a theory test – coronavirus

  • Learners can now book a theory test online, regardless of whether you had one cancelled during lockdown or not. Greats news for those of you who now feel ready after swotting up during lockdown!
  • If you are classed as extremely vulnerable and are shielding the DVSA recommend that you wait until after 1st August to take your theory test.
  • You can still apply for an urgent emergency Theory Test if you are classed as a critical worker.

Taking the theory test – coronavirus

  • The DVSA has introduced social distancing and safety measures at test centres including spacing the computers, provision of hand sanitiser, staff PPE, and extra cleaning of the centre and equipment, etc.
  • You must come to the test centre alone and you will be asked to wear a mask (although you will be asked to remove it briefly whilst the staff check your ID).
  • You must not come for your test, and must self-isolate if:
    • you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms
    • you’ve been told by the NHS Test and Trace service that you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus
    • you have entered or returned to the UK in the last 14 days, except in very limited situations

If this is the case you can change your theory test exam date free of charge, even at late notice.

Read full details on Coronavirus and the theory test on the Government website.

So, there you have it! Taking a driving or theory test at the best of times can be nerve-wracking, but at times like this, it can be more so if you don’t know what to expect. We hope you’ve found this guide useful. Now all you need to do is prepare for that magic pass – which you can do with private practice in a friend’s car or a family car with our Learner Driver Insurance!

Learner Driver Insurance→

Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a learner, to help you get that magic pass!

Alex Johnson profile

By Alex Johnson

'I'm Alex, the Brand Manager here at Marmalade. I passed my test a lot longer ago than I care to admit – but still remember my driving test and my first car (a gold Austin Metro) like it were yesterday!'  See more posts by Alex

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