With driving lessons now restarting, several important measures have been introduced to ensure you and your driving instructor remain as safe as possible from COVID-19 infection. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

What will happen on the day of your driving lesson

Before arriving for your lesson, your instructor will call or text you, asking if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of COVID-19 within the last seven days – or have been in contact with someone who has within the last 14 days.

If you have, your lesson will be cancelled. Remember, even if you feel fine, you could one of the many people who don’t show any symptoms, and by continuing with a lesson, you could endanger your instructor’s life.

• For full information about COVID-19 and official government advice, head here.

What you should do before your driving lesson

If you’re given the all-clear for the lesson to go ahead, your instructor will advise you to do the following:

• Wear clothing that covers as much of your body as possible, including your arms and legs. You should also wrap up warm during cold spells as the windows will most likely be open during the lesson to improve ventilation (while air con will be switched off).

• Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds immediately before leaving your home for your lesson.

• Wear disposable gloves if you wish to – but only put them on just before getting into the car.

• Meet the instructor by the car itself, and not by your front door.

• Expect the instructor to chat with you before you’re allowed to get in the car; this is an opportunity for them to check that you are not displaying any symptoms, and to also check you have washed your hands (or have brought hand sanitiser with you).

• Expect the instructor to have this chat with you at the beginning of each and every lesson. If the instructor is not 100% happy, they will cancel your lesson on the spot. Please don’t take it personally – they are just trying to keep everyone safe.

• If you are a new client, you will be asked to hold up your provisional driving licence so the instructor can check it electronically there and then.

Your instructor will tell you that key surfaces inside and outside the car have been cleaned. These include:

Internal and external door handles • windows/mirror controls • seat/head restraints • seatbelt and its connection • gear lever • steering wheel • indicator and wiper stalks • car keys • training resources.

What you should do during your driving lesson

To reduce risk during the lesson, the instructor will:

• Explain that parents, guardians or friends will not be able to sit in on the lesson.

• Remind you not touch your face during the lesson.

• Hold up any visual aids or training resources, instead of passing them between the two of you.

• Ensure neither of you face each other directly when talking about scenarios; remaining face forward is the safest option when a 1-metre plus gap between two people cannot be maintained.

• Make sure no devices are shared such as pens with the instructor giving any brief notes digitally via text or email where possible.

• Have any discussions outside of the car when and where it is safe to do so.

• Wipe down the car’s controls if and when the instructor has completed giving you a demonstration drive.

• Use hand sanitiser if you and the instructor inadvertently touch hands.

• Ask you to make any payments electronically, and not in cash, where possible.

So what about personal protective equipment? Your instructor may provide disposable gloves as part of their service – so do tell them if you have an allergy to latex before the lesson. Also, you may request that the instructor wears a face mask during the lesson for your peace of mind. Because face coverings are not required by law yet, mask wearing is something that should be discussed before the day of your lesson, instead of asking your instructor to wear one on the day itself.

What you should do after your driving lesson

As you depart, remember not to shake hands and once you’re back home, do wash your hands as soon as possible. You may also wish to wash the clothes you wore during your lesson immediately.

That all sounds pretty strict, right?

Yes, but remember – these restrictions are there to keep you and the instructor safe from harm, and they won’t be in place forever.

• These guidelines are based on NASP (National Associations Strategic Partnership) recommendations that are available to read here.

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