A Class School of Motoring

Driving lessons and covid

After spending many hours poring over the web for advice and help with how to minimise risk teaching in the new covid era we finally got the go-ahead from the government with an announcement in the House of Commons to restart driving lessons on 6th July.

I must admit I faced this news with mixed emotions. Is it going to be safe? Am I going to remember what to do after nearly 14 weeks away from the car?

As far as being safe is concerned there will of course always be a risk associated with driving as we are dealing with many variables so I tried to address covid with the same mindset. As long as we are sensible with covid precautions (keeping windows open, constant cleaning, wearing a
face covering and hand sanitizing etc) and think about what we are doing then we can minimise risks as much as possible and therefore allow the industry to continue to train the public to drive.

The main issue which arose from the precautions was the face covering. I had to speak a lot louder and it would become quite stuffy on the hot days. However after a few days I got used to it.

Thankfully I don’t wear glasses whereas some if my pupils do and some struggled with their glasses steaming up. Following a few Google searches I found a few solutions ranging from putting a small tissue over the nose , taping across the top of the mask, cleaning glasses with soapy water, positioning glasses further down the nose to using a different mask altogether. I noticed that one solution didn’t always work with every student so with the process of trial and error we’d work through until we found a method that worked.

They say driving is like riding a bike in that you never forget. I guess for me I can now include teaching in that. I needn’t have worried about being rusty, as soon as I was back teaching it was like I’d never been away. I was also impressed with my pupils who likewise got straight back to where they were before lockdown in no time, which is a good sign that their driver training is taking hold.

Talking to others about their lockdown experience, most say they were able to take stock of their lives and re-evaluate what’s important to them and I am no different. The time I spent with my family during this time will always be precious to me and made me realise just how much I was missing out on during the regular weekly work routine.

I realised that although we all have our bills to pay, making the effort to try to find a better work/life balance has by far more positive lasting effects to my life and that of my children.

It also made me appreciate how much I love my job giving driving lessons. Yes it can be frustrating sometimes but it’s also very very rewarding. Watching somebody (especially if they are not a natural driver) work through and improve their driving, culminating in a test pass which could be for them independence, a new job, a way out of depression, a chance at a better life is absolutely amazing.

We are seven weeks into the restart and are experiencing stop/ start/ stop/ start with the dvsa test bookings website. At the time of writing this, it is currently down having emergency maintenance work done, following the estimated seven million applications stampede in 12 hours when it reopened to everyone on 21st August.

When they do eventually get it running again they are only releasing tests in six week batches in an attempt to make the rebooking of tests easier in the event of a second lockdown. Couple this with the backlog at DVLA for provisional licence applications, the backlog with booking a theory test those turning 17 could be waiting a little longer to get on the road with driving lessons than their counterparts of previous years.

So the new normal is pretty much the same as before, just with more cleaning, waiting and patience needed.

Keep safe everyone.

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