The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused widespread disruption to our daily lives and gripped the attention of the entire globe, but it has also left us with a range of questions regarding how this potentially deadly disease alters our lives’.
The introduction of social distancing has rendered many events, appointments, and meetings cancelled until further notice – as we are sure you are aware of. The advice of keeping a distance of at least 2 metres, issued by the Prime Minister means that certain tasks carry significantly more risk of spreading infection – one of which is taking your driving test.
But what are you meant to do if you want to pass your driving test in the near future? Or worse, have already booked your driving test?
What is COVID-19?
Firstly it is essential to explain exactly what COVID-19 is, so we can better understand how and why your driving test will be affected.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) ‘the disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing’. COVID-19 remains highly infectious, and due to the nature of the illness, can be especially harmful for those individuals who have underlying health conditions.
The spreadable nature of the illness has encouraged a concerted effort to stop the spread, and a reason your driving test may be affected.
But what does this mean? Will I still be able to take my driving test?
What does the Coronavirus mean for driving tests?
According to the DVLA ‘theory tests are suspended for one month, and driving tests are suspended for up to 3 months due to coronavirus – but tests are available for critical workers’.
This applies to all types of theory tests, driving tests and approved driving instructor (ADI) standards checks.
The situation will be monitored, and could subject to change upon review by the DVLA, but as it currently stands, you will not be able to take your driving test until May, at the earliest.
If you are yearning to drive, and right on the cusp of passing your driving test, you will unfortunately have to wait before you are able to start driving on your own. But use this time wisely, check out our tips to prepare for your practical driving test.
Who are Critical Workers?
Now that we’ve unveiled that ‘Critical Workers’ are allowed to still take their practical and theory driving test(s), we need to fully understand what, and who these workers are. This will help you find out whether you are still eligible to take your test before the mandatory 3-month wait period.
Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work. The Government has compiled a list of those workers who are deemed to be ‘critical’ for the running of the country, while the rest of us isolate.
Check out the full list to see if you fit this criteria.
If you happen to fit this profile, then you will be eligible to book an ‘Emergency Test’ – just email the DVSA (firstname.lastname@example.org) , who will inform you of the documentation you need to present to take these tests.
What if I have already booked my driving test?
As previously mentioned, everybody who does not fall into the ‘Critical Worker’ category will have to wait until the suspension period of 3 months is over.
This will still apply even if you have booked your driving test, but it is very likely that your date and time of testing will be altered to follow these guidelines of waiting beyond the suspension period.
The guidance around this is that you will receive an email which will give you a new time and date, but it is unlikely to be sent to you immediately – instead, expect it roughly 2 weeks before your test date.
What should I do if I have not yet booked my test?
Unfortunately, the simple answer is ‘wait’ – there is no current opportunity to book your test, until the suspension period has finished. This essentially means waiting until May at the earliest to book a practical driving test, and 20th April 2020 for your theory test.
We understand the frustration of waiting to take your driving test, and the anxiety involved, but take this time to go back over the fundamentals, and ensure that when you are able to take your test, you pass the first time round.
Our recommendation is to try and stay up-to-date with the announcements from the DVLA, and act as soon as you can to book your test, as long as you feel ready.
Alternatively, follow us on social media through the links below to find out the newest updates.
Am I able to take driving lessons during the Coronavirus outbreak?
The guidance on this matter from the Driving Instructor Association and National Associations Strategic Partnership is to ‘urge all instructors to stop delivering driving lessons, if [they] have not already done so, with the exception of teaching key workers where necessary’.
While there may be some instructors operating services still, it is recommended that you halt your lessons, and wait until the risk of infection is far less likely – you may have to chat with your instructor and wait until you/ they feel it is safe for you to resume lessons once again.
There may be frustration waiting for months to pass your driving test, but the measures put in place by the DVLA are enforced to protect yourself and others in this unprecedented time. We would strongly recommend that you use this time to help prepare yourself for the practical or theory tests, to ace them first-time round.
We would also recommend that you keep up-to-date with all announcements from the Government and National Health Service (NHS), to make sure that you keep both yourself and others safe during the outbreak of COVID-19.