Learning to drive during lockdown: everything you need to know

The past few months haven’t been a lot of fun for anyone. It’s certainly been tough on anyone learning to drive during lockdown. Over the last year or so, the rules have kept on changing and it can be hard to keep up.

There’s good news around the corner, though. With Covid cases falling and a timetable for returning to a more normal life, learning to drive is soon going to be back on the agenda.

Here’s a round-up of the current restrictions, and when they are expected to change.

What are the rules in England?

Right now? There are no professional driving lessons allowed. The only exceptions are for mobile emergency workers who have an emergency driving test booked via their employer.

You can practise driving with parents or other members of your household or support bubble. The person supervising must be 21 or over and must have held their full licence for at least three years. They should also be licenced to drive the vehicle you practise in (so if they passed their test in an auto they can’t supervise you driving a manual).

It’s better than nothing and should stop you getting too rusty.

Touch wood, it won’t be long before you can get back to proper lessons. The plan is that these will restart from 12 April. It’s hoped that theory tests will restart on this date, too, so keep revising!

Not long after, practical tests are expected to resume. The date for your diary is 22 April.

This could still change, so keep your fingers crossed.

How about in Scotland?

Learning to drive during lockdown is no easier north of the border. Right now no lessons are allowed except for police, fire service and some bus operators carrying out lessons and tests for their staff. However, you can have practice lessons with a member of your household.

Driving tests will only start again when areas move into Protection Level 3 or lower. Because Scotland is expected to take a region-by-region approach to lifting the lockdown, the date for restarting driving tests could well be different, depending on where in Scotland you live.

And Wales?

Again, no professional driving lessons during lockdown if you live in Wales. As in England and Scotland, there are some limited exceptions for emergency services but, unless that applies to you, practice lessons with a member of your household is as good as it gets for now.

The Welsh First Minister, Mark Drayford, has announced some plans to gradually move out of lockdown restrictions. It is likely that driving lessons and tests could begin on or around 12 April, when “close contact services” can reopen.

What are the rules for learning to drive in Northern Ireland?

Right now, you can’t take a theory or practical test in Northern Ireland, but they could restart as soon as April.

We’ll update this page as restrictions change, but it’s also worth checking the official DVSA pages if you live in England, Scotland, or Wales. Take a look at NI Direct for the latest on learning to drive in lockdown in Northern Ireland.

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