In the UK, around 1.6million practical driving tests are taken every year. However, during the coronavirus lockdown which started back on the 24th March, all practical driving tests were cancelled unless the person was an identified keyworker.
Driving tests were allowed to resume on 4th July. As we all adjust to the post lockdown world we are living in, there are a number of changes during the test itself as well.
Booking the test
First of all, anybody who did have a test booked in the four months during lockdown would’ve been sent an email which had assigned them a new date. However, these dates are invalid and you must go online to book your preferred test date. These new emails inviting you to book have started going out in batches from the 16th July 2020 in the order the tests were booked in. At the moment if you did not have a test already booked then you can’t book one until the backlog has cleared to prioritise those affected by the lockdown.
Tests will be staggered in times during the day to minimise the number of people in the test centre at once.
When you book a test, you will need to declare if there is a good reason why you can’t wear a face covering such as a physical or mental illness or impairment – for instance asthma and breathing problems, or if it causes severe distress. However, wearing glasses does not count as a good reason and you will need to prepare before your test with wearing one whilst driving.
During the test
If your face covering becomes a problem your examiner will ask you to stop to adjust it and may end the test early if it becomes a safety issue. Therefore, it will be a good idea to ensure you understand how to stop the vehicle in a safe, legal and convenient place in case this occurs – your 4 Wheelz instructor will be aware of this and will make sure you have plenty of practice.
Furthermore, if you make a serious or dangerous fault, which will mean you have failed the test, the examiner will guide you back to the test centre where the test will end. This is in order to minimise your contact together within the vehicle.
Examiners will also wear face coverings and your driving instructor will not be allowed to accompany you on your driving test.
At the end of the test
Once the test has completed, the examiner will give you feedback from outside the vehicle and you may ask your instructor to come over the listen to it if it is safe to do so.
You must not come for your driving test if: you or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, you’ve been told by the NHS Test and Trace that you have been in contact with a person who has coronavirus or you have returned to the UK in the last 14 days, unless from certain countries or territories. In which case you must stay home and change your driving test appointment which you can do free of charge if you are self-isolating.
It is also recommended to postpone your test if you are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Another point of concern is for people who are coming close to the two-year deadline since they had taken their last theory test. Unfortunately, if the two years has elapsed then your theory test certificate will not be extended so you will need to take your theory test again. If you had booked a driving test, the DVSA will cancel your booking and refund you for this but you will have to book and pay for another theory test.
At 4 Wheelz, all of our franchised instructors are registered with the DVSA and we have many competitive packages for students learning to drive, including discounts on block booking your first lessons. Find out more here and if you would like to find out more, call us on 0800 44 88 288.