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?
During lockdown, all driving lessons with an instructor and tests have been cancelled. Whilst this is upsetting news for many learner drivers, the positive to come from this is that private practice is still permitted. The DVSA advise that learners can practise driving with members of their household or support bubble as long as it's on an essential journey. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are self-isolating you should not leave the house at all (unless it is to get a COVID test).
Are driving lessons allowed in lockdown?
Most of the UK is currently on a full lockdown in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In a similar way to tier 4 restrictions, driving lessons with an instructor are not permitted. This also means that theory and practical driving tests are cancelled. This has come as quite a blow to learner drivers, however, the good news, depending on these location 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?
Whilst parts of the UK are under full lockdown restrictions, England, Scotland, and Wales private driving practice is still permitted - as long as the journey is essential and with members of the same household or support bubble. This is a huge relief for learner drivers who have had lessons with an instructor suspended. Remember, you need to have adequate insurance in place in order to take private practice.
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 there is a full lockdown. Lessons with an instructor have been suspended but private practice can still go ahead.
In Wales driving lessons with an instructor unfortunately have been suspended in level 4 but private practice is permitted as long as it's with a member of your household on a government sanctioned journey. Currently all of Wales is in alert level 4.
In Scotland there is a full lockdown. Lessons with an instructor have been suspended but you can still have private practice with a member of your household on an essential journey.
In Northern Ireland new restrictions came into place in NI on December 26th for a period of 6 weeks (subject to review at 4 weeks). This means all driving tests (except motorcycle tests) are suspended from 28th December to 6th February. Currently it is not specified if this also includes driving lessons - we will keep this blog updated with more information as and when it is released.
When will driving lessons restart?
In England, measures are expected to be reviewed on February 15th 2021.
In Scotland, lockdown measures are due to be reviewed at the end of January 2021.
In Wales, lockdown measures are reviewed every 3 weeks. It is likely that not much will change in restrictions until the end of January 2021.
In Northern Ireland, driving lessons are likely to be suspended along with the new restrictions from December 26th for 6 weeks however this is unconfirmed - we will keep you updated with more information as and when we have it.
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, Scotland & Wales
Theory Tests and Practical Tests: All tests have been suspended.
Theory Tests and Practical Tests: New restrictions came into place in NI on December 26th for a period of 6 weeks (subject to review at 4 weeks). This means all driving tests (except motorcycle tests) are suspended from 28th December to 6th February. The DVA will be refunding payments for tests booked during this period and will be contacting customers directly early in the new year to advice how they can reschedule their tests.
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 no learner drivers are able to take their driving tests in the UK.
In England, Wales and Scotland no tests can be booked. When there is a lockdown review on the 15th February, there should be more information released about how and when you can book a driving test.
In Northern Ireland, test are suspended until 6th February and therefore you cannot book a test. If you have a test booked, the DVA will be in touch.
When the time comes to book a driving test, you can find out how to book it 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 once I can take it?
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?
Read the full coronavirus guidance for the four nations via the links below:
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious during these uncertain times, head over to our blog for students dealing with anxiety during the coronavirus.