Clearway Driver Training

COVID-19 Policy and Guidance for Driving Lessons

Last updated 4th July 2020

As of 1 July 2020, our office is now open to deal with enquiries and driving lesson bookings. Please contact us if we can be of help.

Driving Lessons and COVID-19

After more than three months of lockdown, the Government has given driving instructors the go-ahead to resume driving lessons. This is good news for learner drivers who now have the opportunity to make progress towards getting a full driving licence and good news for driving instructors who have not been able to earn a living for the last few months!

However, while we can all get back in the driving seat, things are far from "back to normal". COVID-19 hasn't gone away. There is as yet, no cure or even a vaccine. We all therefore need to do as much as we can to minimise the risk of catching the virus or spreading it to others.

Driving lessons are, by their very nature, events which require people to be in close proximity with each other in a confined space. The Government guidelines strongly recommend a 1 metre distance between people outside of their own household or "social bubble". This is just not possible to maintain during a driving lesson as the type of cars used for driving tuition simply aren't that big! In order to achieve the suggested distance, you'd need a car with three front seats. That's not going to happen, so if driving lessons are going to restart, both instructors and learner drivers are going to have to find other ways of minimising the risk.

So, unlike pre-lockdown driving lessons, sadly we are no longer in a situation where your driving instructor pulls up outside your door, you come out, climb straight into the driving seat, do your cockpit drill, go through the lesson plan together and off you go. The way driving lessons are carried out has had to change! We do not have any official guidance from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who are the Government department who regulate driver trainers and driving tests, but every driving school and instructor in the country is likely to be making changes to the way they operate so that driving lessons are as safe as they can make them for their customers and themselves.

What we are doing

Here is what Clearway Driver Training instructors are going to be doing when they resume work from Monday 13th July onwards:

  1. The evening before each of your driving lessons your instructor will contact you by text message to ask you:

    • if you have any symptoms of COVID-19

    • ask you if you have been in contact with anyone showing symptoms within the last 14 days

    • tell you that you MUST notify them if this changes between then and the lesson

    • remind you that you MUST wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds immediately before the lesson

    • ask you to keep any personal belongings you bring to lessons to essential items only

      PLEASE NOTE

    • If you do not respond to the message from your instructor by 8:00am on the day of your lesson, your lesson will not take place and you may be charged at the discretion of your instructor.

    • If you have symptoms, or have been in contact with somebody who has symptoms then your lesson will not take place. In this instance, you will not be able to arrange another driving lesson for a period of 14 days from when your symptoms started, or you were last in contact with a person with symptoms. If YOU have symptoms of COVID-19 you should follow the Government guidelines regarding self-isolation and arranging to be tested for COVID-19.

  2. When your instructor arrives at the pick-up point for your lesson, he will sanitise the interior of the car and the exterior door handles.

  3. Your instructor will meet you outside the car and carry out the following:

    • greet you and reconfirm your health status as described in point 1 above

    • take your temperature using a "no contact" thermometer and take their own temperature to reassure you. This is done by measuring the temperature on the skin of your forehead as carried out in hospitals, airports etc.

    • check that you have washed your hands immediately prior to the lesson and remind you that you should avoid touching your face from this point onwards

    • explain that the car has been sanitised and what to do if you need to cough or sneeze

    • discuss and agree the lesson plan with you

    • ask you to put on a face covering. This can either be a mask of your own choice which you bring with you, or if you would prefer, your instructor will have a supply of insurance company approved Face Shields (these are visors with a transparent plastic shield that covers your face from your forehead to below your chin and fastens around your head with a plastic strap and a foam pad across your forehead.) If you wish to use one of our Face Shields, we will supply one to you free of charge. You will need to bring this to every lesson as they are reusable and can be washed at home by you with soapy water. If you forget your Face Shield and do not have a face covering of your own with you, we can supply a replacement at a cost of £2.00.

    • ask you to sanitise your hands using the alcohol-based hand sanitiser they will provide

    • now you can get into the car!

      PLEASE NOTE

    • if your health status has changed or your temperature is significantly elevated, your lesson will not take place and you will not be charged

    • if your instructor's temperature is significantly elevated, your lesson will not take place and you will not be charged

    • if you refuse to wear a face covering or Face Shield or to use hand sanitiser, your lesson will not take place and you will be charged the full price of the lesson. As it is not possible to keep to social distancing guidelines, it is a condition of taking lessons with Clearway Driver Training that you MUST wear a face covering – there are no exceptions to this requirement.

  4. Your instructor will keep windows open wherever possible rather than using air conditioning. If weather conditions make this impossible e.g. very heavy rain, then air conditioning will be used but only with non-recirculated air.

  5. Your instructor will not allow anyone else to sit in on driving lessons.

  6. You MUST keep any personal items such as mobile phones, keys, wallets, purses etc. either in your pocket, or in a small bag such as a handbag or small backpack. Your instructor will have a plastic box in the back of the car for such bags which he will sanitise between lessons. Please DO NOT bring any food or drinks with you. Please DO NOT leave anything in the car at the end of your lesson.

  7. If your instructor needs to use any of the car's controls, he will instruct you to stop where it is safe before resanitising the controls and ensuring that both you and he use hand sanitiser again.

  8. Your instructor will not allow you to touch any driver training aids such as his iPad, Highway Code etc. If the instructor needs to see your driving licence photocard, you should hold the licence up to show him.

  9. At the end of the lesson, your instructor will give you feedback and arrange subsequent lessons outside the car where possible.

  10. As soon as you get in from the lesson, you should wash your hands again and clean or dispose of any face coverings safely. If you have been issued with one of our Face Shields, this should be washed in soapy water and brought to your next lesson.

NOTES

Paying for your driving lessons

In order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, we have needed to amend the methods of payment we can accept.


Wherever possible, we would appreciate it if payments can be made by bank transfer (BACS or Faster Payments) to our office at least 24 hours in advance of your lesson.


We are also able to accept contactless credit or debit card payments for amounts up to £45 in the car at the time of your lesson. We can also take contactless payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay without this limit.

Please note we are unable to take card payments over the telephone or online.

We are able to take non-contactless card payments or cash in the South Lincolnshire area. Any cash payments made must be for the exact amount as no change can be given. Any excess amount will be held in credit towards subsequent lessons.

Regrettably, we are unable to take non-contactless card payments or cash in the Thames Valley area.

Length Of Lessons

The booked length of the lesson will be honoured in full. Carrying out the temperature checks, putting on a face covering or face shield and sanitising hands etc. will take some time but we will allow for that and will ensure that the time taken for this does not eat into the length of your lesson.

Gloves

If you wish to wear your own disposable gloves to lessons you can, but please be aware that they are almost certain to make your hands hot and sweaty and may reduce your level of control of the car. If this happens, your instructor will ask you to remove them. Using gloves can also increase the risk of contamination. Good hand hygiene, washing your hands frequently for the recommended 20 seconds and using hand sanitiser is a better way of protecting yourself and others!

Plastic partitions

A plastic partition between the instructor and driver is not a feasible way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Insurance companies do not allow them under the terms of vehicle insurance. They would prevent the instructor operating the steering wheel, gears and handbrake in the event of an emergency, and in the event of an accident, they would prevent airbags from functioning. Therefore, we will not be using plastic partitions.

Sanitising the car

In order to make driving lessons as safe as possible, it is necessary to sanitise the car before every lesson. This will involve cleaning all interior surfaces and exterior door handles with particular attention paid to the most frequently touched areas and controls including (but not limited to) the steering wheel, indicator and wiper stalks, gearstick and handbrake. This will be done using an anti-bacterial and anti-viral disinfectant spray and/or wipes.

Tests

Theory tests will resume from 4th July. Practical tests will resume from 22nd July, with priority given to those who had tests booked before/during lockdown and that were cancelled by the DVSA. If you had a test cancelled by the DVSA, they will email you in the next few weeks and invite you to apply for a new test date/time. Please make sure your instructor is available on your chosen date/time before booking it.