The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have confirmed that driving lessons, car practical tests and theory tests will be suspended in Tier 4 areas in England until further notice. Under the new local restriction tiers, the areas covered by our driving school (South Lincolnshire and the Thames Valley) have been placed in Tier 4. This means that no driving lessons will be allowed to take place until either or both of the areas we cover leave Tier 4 or the restrictions are lifted. During this period, our office will be closed.
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 for driving lessons to restart again, both instructors and learner drivers need to find other ways of minimising the risk.
So, unlike pre-pandemic 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 follow the official guidance from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who are the Government department who regulate driver trainers and driving tests and 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.