With lockdown gradually starting to ease, small parts of our normal, everyday lives are beginning to return. We’re even starting to get closer to the beginning of driving lesson re-commencement – something which seemed a long way away just a weeks ago!
We know the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are working hard to put measures in place to make things safe for their students and staff. Driving lessons and theory tests have been given the green light to start again from Saturday 4th July, with practical driving tests following shortly after from Wednesday 22nd July. But as a learner driver, what can you do to make sure you and your instructor are as safe as possible when you go back lessons?
Let’s find out.
1) Get some personal protective equipment (PPE) for your driving lessons
As you’ll be sat close to your instructor/examiner, the safest thing will be for you both to have PPE ready for your lessons. We’re a few months into the coronavirus now and thankfully the availability of masks seems to have increased. There are lots of companies out there creating facemasks so hopefully you shouldn’t have any problem finding them.
If you manage to get yourself some disposable gloves, try and put the gloves on just before getting in the car and try not to touch your mouth etc. until after you’ve taken them off and washed your hands. If you’re wearing gloves in the car, but touching your phone/parts of your body, you’re defeating the object of wearing gloves in the first place.
2) Wash your hands before and after driving lessons
If coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that handwashing is so important to limit the spread of infection. Wash your hands carefully and thoroughly, before and after each lesson. You could even take some sanitiser and spare gloves with you just in case.
Don’t forget that cleaning your hands is all well and good, but what’s one of the things you probably touch the most? You phone. Check out these simple tips on how to clean your phone.
3) Accept that you may be required to have more lessons
A recent update from Bill Plant Driving School said that students who were previously ‘test ready’ but haven’t had lessons for up to 3 months would probably need at least a few weeks before their rest is re-booked.
If this is the case, as frustrating as it may seem, just remind yourself it’s for the best. With a few extra weeks of lessons, you’ll feel much more confident and prepared for your test.
4) Revisit your theory
If you’ve not driven for a while, or even given any thought to driving, you may have forgotten some key road rules. You can test yourself on the government’s website.
5) Watch some YouTube driving videos
We mentioned this in our recent blog post about learner driver tips for lockdown. There are lots of great educational YouTube channels out there. See if you can find a channel which focuses on driving safely and passing your test.
6) Observe family members
Use this time to watch your family members as they drive. As long as they’re using good habits, you could learn a lot from experienced drivers.
7) Accept that you may need to find a new driving instructor
If your current instructor is at risk, or lives with someone high risk, it may be that they won’t be back to work just yet. Either way, they should let you know in advance so you can either be prepared to wait or make other arrangements.
8) Try to be patient as you wait for driving lessons to return after covid
We know how frustrating this must be for you. To be so close to passing, or even starting lessons, and to have it taken away – with uncertainty over when it’ll return. But remember, every roadblock is in place to keep you, your family and others around you safe. So as frustrating as it may be, what’s a few months off the rest of your life behind the wheel?
9) Book your test in advance (with your instructor’s advice)
We expect there’ll be a backlog of people needing to take their test. Also, there may be a limit to how many people can take their test in one day to reduce the risk of infection transmission. So if you’re close to passing, with your instructor’s approval, you may like to book your test to give you something to work towards.
10) Be calm
If you haven’t driven for a while, you may be nervous about getting back behind the wheel. It’s naturally an overwhelming time for all learner drivers (and even instructors!), but you’ll manage. Stay calm, prepare and before you know it, you’ll be back into your normal routine. Remember it’s important to look after your mental health too – and too much stressing isn’t good for anyone.
11) Ask your driving instructor for specific guidance
Your driving instructor probably won’t be re-starting lessons unprepared. If they don’t get in touch with tips/guidance, drop them a line and ask if there’s anything specific they require from you and what you can expect in a post-covid world of driving lessons.
12) Make sure you’re insured
If you’re learning in your own car – make sure that you’re insured with a company who looks after their new and young drivers. And if you’re not learning in your own car, but will have your own car when you pass, start thinking about who you’d like to insure you.
Endsleigh specialises in insurance for young drivers, including learner driver insurance, black box insurance and short-term car insurance. So you can be assured that we always have your best interests at heart.