Since January 5th, driving lessons have been prohibited under the social distancing regulations except for key workers who could book emergency tests in exceptional circumstances. During this period, learners have only been allowed to practise with a member of their own household. However, following the proposed 4-stage plan to ease restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is at last time for learners, instructors and testing centres to get back on the road. Here’s what you need to know.
With social distancing advice easing gradually from the end of March, April 12th will see gyms, pubs and restaurants opening again, providing that their customers can stay outside. Fortunately for driving instructors and learners, if all goes according to plan, it is anticipated that driving instructors will be allowed to resume lessons from this date, too.
Driving tests will be allowed from the same date, so if you had to cancel a test in January, it is advisable that you book your theory (if you have not done so already) and practical tests as soon as possible; after 14 weeks off the road, driving instructors and test centres are likely to be at capacity for the next few months.
Can’t find an instructor? Choosing your driving instructor is a very personal thing. While their experience, success rate, fees and teaching style will all impact your decision on which driving instructor to choose, chemistry will play a big part. It is essential that you feel confident with your driving instructor and that you are able to listen to and understand what they are saying to you. If you are scared, or they talk in a way that fails to engage you, you are not going to learn or drive at your best.
If you engaged a driving instructor before the restrictions, it is a good idea to try to continue with them. If you haven’t yet engaged a driving instructor, check out Trust A Garage’s list of rated, reviewed local driving instructors. Call a few, see what their availability is like, and ask if they offer trial lessons so you can see how well you work together.
If there is no urgency to get on the road, that is, unless you need to pass your test in order to get to college or work, it may be worth waiting a while. Driving instructors are likely to be busier than ever for the next few months, and test centres will be working at capacity. Try booking your driving theory test so that you have a date to work towards and if you can only reserve a place with a driving instructor in a few months’ time be patient; you have many years on the road to enjoy, so a 6-month wait while things settle down won’t make a huge difference for now.
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