As lockdown has begun to ease in England, driving lessons have been allowed to resume from 4th July. Though new restrictions have come into force through much of the UK, including local restrictions in Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton such as the “Rule of Six”, at the moment driving lessons can continue to go ahead.
However, did you know all of the new guidelines that you and your pupils should follow to keep your learners safe? Here is some guidance on the steps you will now need to take in order to keep pupils safe and minimise virus transmission.
Before the lesson
Before a lesson, you should contact each of your students to check whether they or anyone they live with has had COVID-19 symptoms, they recently returned to the UK from travelling abroad, or have been contacted to self-isolate through NHS Track and Trace. If so, then the lesson must be postponed.
During a lesson, it will be a requirement for students to wear face masks before getting into the car, (though wearing gloves as well is advised), so you should check with them they have any valid reason to make them exempt from wearing a face mask for the purposes of taking a driving test. The full guidelines are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-driving-tests-and-theory-tests#wearing-a-face-covering. However, if they do wear glasses than unfortunately this is not counted as a valid reason to not wear one so they will need to practice driving whilst wearing one before taking their test.
Another thing to make them aware of is during a test all windows will need to be open in order to maximise airflow within the car, so the pupil may want to cover their arms and legs and wear additional layers.
When you arrive at your pupils’ home, ensure all frequently touched surfaces in the car are sanitised and wiped down thoroughly – including:
- Steering wheel
- Gear lever
- Parking brake
- Seatbelts and seat adjustment controls
- Head restraints
- Indicator and wiper stalks
- Headlight switches
- Rear view mirror
- Door mirror adjusters
- Door handles
You should also do this at the conclusion of the lesson.
You should then meet your pupil outside the car and you can optionally check your pupil’s temperature as an extra precaution before putting on your PPE and entering the vehicle.
During the lesson
During lockdown, a number of precautions were proposed to make lessons safer from transmitting the virus, including fitting plastic screens. However, many of these proposals were felt to pose too much of a risk in the event of an accident if the car’s airbags went off. They may also count as a modification so could have insurance complications.
It is advised both yourself and your pupil look ahead rather than at each other as much as possible during the lesson and during verbal teaching you hold up diagrams rather than pass them between each other.
If at any point during the lesson you touch one of the controls then the car will need to be pulled over and wiped down thoroughly.
If during the lesson you change positions – perhaps so you can demonstrate a manoeuvre or if the learner is new and you are driving them to a quiet area to practice and then driving them home – all the touched surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned again.
End of the lesson
At the conclusion of the lesson, rather than giving feedback inside the car, this should now be done outside and socially distanced to minimise the time with close contact. You can ask your pupils to take photographs of any comments and feedback or send it to them via text message or email once the lesson is completed.
You should again clean the car’s surfaces down before driving off again and as additional cleaning takes more time you should ensure you have adequate time in between lessons to do this thoroughly.
4 Wheelz is a driving school that operates franchises throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands. If you would like to train to become a driving instructor, then you can find out more about our excellent training program here. Alternatively, if you would like to join us as an instructor from another driving school (or maybe you were operating independently) then click here to find out more about our franchise.