Its been a crazy year
Learning to drive during covid-19, 2020 has been a crazy year with everyone going into lockdown due to coronavirus with many industries told to work from home if they can. Many companies able to pay their staff via a furlough scheme, but for self employed people like driving instructors they had to simply stop working and go from having an income to having literally zero with no income to pay for food or bills.
New year resolution
For many people they give themselves a new year resolution, stopping a habit or learning a new skill like learning to drive with a goal in mind to pass their driving test that year. Many new learner drivers may have been able to get started on their journey in January or February and then come March everything had to stop.
Driving lessons had to stop
For many people that where preparing to take a test in March, April and May just had to sit back and watch their driving test get cancelled and then rescheduled multiple times. This is not a good scenario for anyone learning to drive and wanting to pass a driving test.
Theory test certificate expiring
Some learner drivers that passed their theory test during 2018 and had their driving test booked before their theory test certificate expired had the unfortunate news that they would have to resit a theory test before they could book another driving test.
Key workers could continue their driving lessons and book both a theory test and a practical driving test during the 6 months of lockdown, with many deciding to start their driving lessons during this time as the roads were quieter.
As many people were staying at home the roads became much quieter with only key workers and public transport and those heading out to get food able to use the road if they had a car. So, this seemed like a great time for key workers to learn to drive, with many thinking that they could have less lessons and pass their driving test, unfortunately many of these candidates still failed their driving test.
Driving lessons restarted
Driving lessons for many learner drivers across England could restart their driving lessons in early July, but then came a 5 month back log of students that were ready for their driving test, but many hadn’t driven for the last 5 months so test readiness was not there anymore.
Driving test backlog
Because the world came to a halt, it meant that there was now a huge back log of driving test candidates that had a driving test booked and were at the required driving test standard before the lockdown. Due to the lockdown, these candidates were now not at the required standard with the DVSA only giving many of these candidates only two weeks to prepare for their new driving test date. Candidates that were able to continue with private practice were able to successfully pass their driving test, but for many this was not the case and others failed and were then at the back of the queue for another driving test.
Driving test booking system
The DVSA in all of its wisdom then opened up the driving test booking system and many would queue for hours trying to get a driving test only to not be successful and having to wait a week to try again. One of the main problems with this was people could then book a driving test that did not have a driving instructor or a means of taking a driving test, i.e. their own vehicle.
Driving instructors fully booked
Many if not all driving instructors across the country are fully booked with many having a 4 to 6 month waiting list. The reason for such a huge waiting list is due to people getting a driving test like I mentioned above that do not have any means of taking a driving test they have booked and the driving instructors current pupils that are near the required driving test standard unable to get a test date.
Driving test waiting times
In our local area of Liverpool, the driving test centres that candidates can use are Speke, Norris Green, Widnes, St. Helens and Southport. The current driving tests waiting times for these driving test centres range from 12 weeks to 20 weeks. Because of these waiting times, driving instructors are unable to empty out their diary because their students cannot get a driving test.
Hardly any driving test cancellations
Before coronavirus, should a driving test candidate be unable to take the driving test they would have to give 3 working days’ notice to reschedule their driving test or ask for a refund, under the current situation, a candidate simply not turning up to their driving test enables the candidate to be given a refund. This now creates a scenario that prevents a candidate wishing to take a driving test being able to get a cancellation and having to wait the 12 to 20 weeks for their test date.
New threat to driving instructors
Unlike many people that are employed and have the luxury of sick pay or having the government help them out a driving instructor and many other self-employed people do not have the same luxury. Many students do not believe in the virus and enjoy socialising in pubs or house parties with the risk of catching coronavirus and whilst waiting for a covid-19 test result to come back will continue to have their driving lesson. The problem with this is, should the result come back positive, the driving instructor then must self-isolate for 14 days also whilst risking passing the virus to all their other students.
Self-isolation for driving instructors
Now we all know that to a pupil it is important to have regular driving lessons, but should you feel unwell, be it a cold or flu or coronavirus. Every driving instructor across the country would prefer it if you missed two weeks of lessons instead of your driving instructor missing two weeks of work. They would rather lose out on 2 driving lessons than 30+ hours of driving lessons. Having to self-isolate for 14 days because you did not want to miss a driving lesson means your driving instructor now has zero income.
Learning to drive during coronavirus
Learning to drive this year has seen many changes, with driving schools and driving instructors across England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales having to clean their vehicle before and after every driving lesson. With some choosing to buy a vehicle anti-bacterial fogging machine to deep clean their vehicle. Wearing masks and gloves during every lesson all to help stop the spread of the virus.
Will this now just become the normal and the future of learning to drive? Should driving instructors or driving schools be the only ones allowed to book a driving test for their test candidate to help with availability and stop the huge waiting times?
If you want to know the best way to pass your driving test https://automaticdrivinglessonsliverpool.com/how-to-pass-your-driving-test/
For help and guidance if you test positive and have to self isolate for 14 days https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
Driving Lessons Liverpool can help you learn to drive in Liverpool and surrounding areas, remember to wash your hands before and after your lesson and bring a face covering / gloves with you. if you are felling unwell, please do cancel your driving lesson and your next lesson will be booked for in 14 days. Our aim is to stop the spread by stopping our driving instructors passing it to other pupils.