The coronavirus outbreak has affected almost every aspect of our daily lives, and driving lessons have been no exception. Here, Mark Barclay from auto experts GSF Car Parts shares some tips for keeping your learning going during the lockdown.
For the latest advice and information regarding coronavirus restrictions, visit the government website.
If your driving lessons have been put on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak, then it’s perfectly understandable that you might be feeling anxious about the progress you’ll have missed out on. Or, perhaps you’re worried that you won’t remember what to do when you next get behind the wheel. Learning to drive can be stressful at the best of times, and there’s a lot to remember, so having your lessons disrupted by such a major event is certainly far from ideal.
However, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re still learning and making progress while lessons are on pause, even if you can’t actually go for practice with your instructor anymore. This way, you’ll find it much easier to get back into the swing of things once the lockdown lifts and lessons and exams can re-start. In this article, I’ll talk you through a few of best methods for keeping up with your learning.
Keep Revising For Your Theory Test
If haven’t passed your theory test just yet, then now is a great opportunity to get lots of revision done in advance of the test centres re-opening. You can find nearly all of the material you need online, and there are plenty of mock theory and hazard perception tests out there. So, you should have no problem finding everything you need to practice this at home.
Even if you’ve already passed your theory test, then I’d still recommend using this time to refresh your knowledge of the Highway Code from time to time. The knowledge you learn when preparing for the theory exam — like what road signs mean, and other rules of the road — will also help you during the practical test. And, it will help to keep key skills and knowledge fresh in your memory, so you’ll be more prepared when you do get back behind the wheel.
Practice on essential journeys if it's safe to do so
The current advice is that we should all be avoiding unnecessary journeys of any kind as much as possible. Unfortunately, that means you can’t just go for a practice drive for the sake of it, but you can still use any essential journeys as an opportunity to get a bit of practice in if you live with someone who can supervise you. For example, you could offer to drive with them to the supermarket or another essential activity, giving you a chance to refresh your skills as you go.
Remember, the rules for who can accompany you in the vehicle remain the same. Your supervising driver must:
· Be aged 21 or over;
· Be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you’ll be learning in;
· Have had a valid driving licence for at least 3 years;
· Be ready and willing to safely take over driving if you cannot continue for any reason.
You also need to be insured to drive the vehicle you’ll be practicing in. If the car belongs to your friend or family member, then they will need to add you to their insurance policy as a learner driver,
Familiarise yourself with the controls and engine at home
One of the core components of the practical driving test is the “show me, tell me” section. This involves opening the bonnet and answering a few questions about the inner workings of the vehicle, as well as explaining how to do certain maintenance checks, like topping up the engine oil. So, if you or a family member own a car you can practice this on, you can revise this part of the test at home. Ask a friend or family member to play the role of the examiner, and get them to ask you a few sample questions — you can find these online, or your driving instructor may be able to send you some remotely.
If possible, you can also use this time to get familiarise yourself with the controls inside the car, too. There are so many buttons, warning lights, dials, and other features inside the cabin that it can be tough to remember what they do and when it’s right to use them. So, it’s well worth spending some time sitting in the driver’s seat of a stationary car, getting to grips with how they all work. You could ask a friend or family member to help you out by sitting in the passenger seat and testing your knowledge. Just remember to keep the car in neutral and the handbrake on to keep you both safe.
Lockdown might have put a temporary stop to lessons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your learning from home. Try a few of the methods I’ve shared here, and you’re sure to get back into the swing of things quickly once lessons re-start.