While the lockdown has meant most of us haven’t been able to head out with our instructors, there has been a group that has been allowed to continue taking lessons and tests: Key workers.
Think nurses, teachers and the other critical people who have stepped up and looked out for us during these tough times.
To ensure that they – and their instructors – have the safest possible lessons, guidance has been published by driving instructor collective NASP (National Associations Strategic Partnership) to help instructors deliver lessons in a format that reduces the risk posed by the inherent lack of social distancing in cars.
The document also offers vital insights into what a driving lesson will be like once you’re finally allowed to head out with your instructor again; NASP believes there there is the potential of returning to a ‘wider level of training’ at the beginning of July as the lockdown eases (see below).
Here’s what a typical lesson will look like once restrictions are eased:
What to expect on the day of your driving lesson
On the day of the 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.
• 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:
• 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 2-metre 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.
• Wipe down the car’s controls if and when the instructor has completed giving you a demonstration drive.
• 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.
Also, do bear in mind that the July start date for lessons resuming is subject to change depending on the latest government advice. Theory Test Pro will keep you informed of exact start times plus keep you updated any other important changes as and when we hear about them.
• Instructors, to read NASP’s full guidance document, click here.
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Driving lesson image © Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia