The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives. Things are no different for those learning to drive, many of whom have put their plans on hold for the time-being or even had lessons and tests cancelled.
The good news is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. December saw the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered, which means we can start to get our lives back on track in 2021.
However, for those who have stopped their driving lessons or are yet to have their first, the question still remains – should you start or restart your lessons during COVID or wait until everything is completely back to normal?
Are you allowed to take driving lessons during COVID?
The first consideration is simply whether you’re allowed to take driving lessons and the eventual test in light of the current COVID tiered system. From 2nd December, the government put around 99% of the population of England into tier 2 or 3 – the highest level of restrictions.
Fortunately, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) confirmed they would be resuming all lessons and tests, including theory and practical, from 2nd-3rd December. Of course, things have been changing at a rapid pace over the last year, so it’s always worth checking local regulations to see whether driving lessons and tests are still permitted.
Making driving lessons COVID-safe
If you do choose to start or restart your lessons, it’s worth considering the precautions you can take to minimise the risk of transmission. In Scotland, it’s mandatory for both pupils and instructors to wear a face covering during driving lessons. While that’s not specifically outlined for the rest of the UK, it’s certainly recommended.
According to the DVSA guidelines, all candidates will need to wear a face covering for their test. Refusal to wear one without exceptional circumstances being pre-notified and agreed upon could result in the test being cancelled.
All of the other COVID car sharing advice still applies too. This includes ventilating the car by keeping windows open, avoiding contact with people from other households and washing your hands before and after any lessons. It goes without saying that you should cancel or postpone your lesson if you’re self-isolating after a positive test or experiencing symptoms without yet receiving a negative result.
Start now or wait?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to take driving lessons during COVID is down to you. With the second wave past its peak in most areas and the vaccine slowly being rolled out, it’s much less likely that tests will be cancelled and lessons put on hold again in the coming months. However, for some, the unease of wearing a mask while doing something you’re already quite nervous about, could be enough to put you off.
It’s worth bearing in mind that, even though the vaccine is being administered, measures like face masks and social distancing could remain in place for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, it might be better to bite the bullet and take some lessons rather than holding off for months on end.
Buying your first car might seem a world away when you’re taking lessons and tests during COVID or otherwise. However, it doesn’t do any harm to plan ahead and get a better idea of what kind of car you’ll be able to buy.
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