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! Can you still practice in private? Should you have learner insurance in place?
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?
Driving lessons with an instructor and tests have recently been given a restart date which varies dependent on which nation of the UK you live in. These dates can be found below. Private practice is still permitted. The DVSA advise that learners can practise driving with members of their household or support bubble, provided you adhere to local government guidelines.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should try to 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).
When will driving tests resume?
The answer will depend on where you live. To make it easy, we've split these out by the 4 nations below:
England and Wales
Theory Tests: The DVSA have confirmed that Theory Tests will resume on 12th April. You can book a driving test now up to 18 weeks in the future.
Practical Tests: Practical Driving Tests will start again on 22nd April, the reason being it gives learners a chance to get in driving lessons with their instructor before taking a test. If you have a driving test booked between April 12th - 21st, the DVSA will be in touch to rearrange this.
Theory Tests: Scotland have announced that car theory tests will re-start on 26th April.
Practical Tests: Practical driving tests in Scotland will resume on 6th May.
Theory Tests and Practical Tests: Driving lessons and tests are set to resume in Northern Ireland on the 23rd April. You can find more information on this here.
When the time comes to book a driving test, you can find out how to book it here.
When will driving lessons resume?
In England and Wales, driving lessons with an instructor resumed on the 12th April.
In Scotland, lockdown measures are aimed to be eased from the 26th April with Driving lessons will re-commence on this date.
In Northern Ireland, driving lessons will resume on April 23rd
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.
Driving lessons in lockdown
Driving lessons with an instructor resume on the 12th April in England and Wales, 26th April in Scotland and the 23rd April in Northern Ireland. Depending on these location restrictions, learners are also 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. Key workers who have a driving test booked under new DVSA rules may also take lessons provided they are able to prove a test is booked to their instructor.
I work for the NHS - Can I take a driving test?
The DVSA are introducing a limited number of theory and practical driving tests for NHS health and social care workers, the emergency services and local councils should they need to drive as part of their role - i.e. being an ambulance driver! They can only accept requests for tests from employers, such as NHS Trusts so should you be in this position and want a test, contact your employer who will be able to arrange this for you. This is not available in Scotland.
If you do have an emergency test booked, driving instructors can give you driving lessons to prepare. You must provide your instructor with a confirmation letter and a mobile emergency test application as proof that you have a test coming up. Keep this to hand during your lessons should you need to show the training is allowed to take place.
Can I take my son or daughter out for driving lessons during lockdown?
Whilst Northern Ireland are still lockdown restrictions, private practice in England, Scotland, and Wales private driving practice is permitted - as long as it is 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 and Wales lessons with an instructor are permitted from April 12th.
In Scotland the stay at home order has now been lifted. Lessons with an instructor are still suspended until 26th April, but you can still have private practice with a member of your household on an essential journey.
In Northern Ireland driving lessons will resume on the 23rd April.
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.