While driving tests have now restarted, significant changes have been made to how they are carried out. These centre on social distancing (or the lack of it) because it’s impossible to adhere to the current one meter plus rule as you and your driving examiner sit close together over an extended period of time.

To help minimise the risk, several changes have been to the testing process. Here’s what you should now expect and prepare for on the big day:

What to check before heading out for your driving test

• If you or anyone in your household has had any symptoms of COVID-19 within the last seven days – or have been in contact with someone who has within the last 14 days – you must cancel your test. No ifs, no buts. For full information about COVID-19 and official government advice, head here.

• If you develop symptoms within the three days prior to your test, you can rebook it without losing your fee.

What to expect before your driving test

• You should arrive ‘no more than five minutes before the test’; if taking the test in your instructor’s car, this is to ensure they have enough time to wipe down all the areas in the car that the examiner will be sitting in or touching including seat adjusters, head restraint, seatbelt, and more.

• You will have to remain outside the test centre as waiting rooms are currently closed so dress according to the weather conditions.

• Thankfully, a previous rule – that toilets were only available to someone who was pregnant or had a disability or medical condition – has been changed so all can now use the the facilities. This is good news for anyone who is feeling particular nervous about their test…

• The examiner will come out to meet you where they normally would i.e., the car park, but will now ask you: “Can you confirm that you are taking part in the Government Test and Trace or similar national initiative and that you are happy for your details to be passed to the relevant tracing authority if needed for Covid 19 tracing purposes.” If you say no, the test will be cancelled.

• You must wear a face mask at all times when with the examiner. If you don’t or refuse to, the test will be cancelled.

There are exceptions to the face mask rule. For instance if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering; if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress; or if you wish to remove it during your test to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others.

• If you are unable to wear a mask, you must declare this when booking your test.

• The one time you can take off your mask is when the examiner is checking your face against the picture on your ID.

What to expect during your driving test

• Only your examiner will be with you on your test. Previously, your instructor or supporting driver was allowed to sit in the back but this is now deemed a health risk.

• If you have a problem with your mask at any point during the test, tell the examiner and they will ask you to stop and adjust it before carrying on with the test; this will not count against your test score.

• However, if you keep experiencing issues with your mask, the examiner may cancel the test if they deem it as a potential safety issue.

• If you or the examiner should feel unwell or develop a cough during the test, the test will be stopped immediately.

• Previously, if you made a serious or dangerous fault, the examiner allowed the test to continue (experience is important after all). However, if you make a fault that would result in a fail, the examiner will tell you to return to the test centre immediately.

• This change has been introduced to ensure that you and your examiner spend as little amount of time together as possible.

What to expect after your driving test

• When the test is over, you will return to the test centre and be asked to leave the vehicle before being given your result feedback.

• At this stage, you can ask your instructor to come over and listen to the feedback, but only if your examiner believes it is safe to do so.

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