Driving instructors

How driving instructors in the North East are getting back on the road after the Covid-19 lockdown

Learner drivers will discover new health and safety rules during their driving lesson

The safety of driving instructors and their students remains a top priority as they return to work on the roads after all lessons were suspended in March during the unprecedented Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.

Many small independent driving schools are gradually reopening their doors. Some have not received any financial assistance from government schemes because they are not based in the office, which means they have not earned a penny of personal income since March 23.

Instructors face a difficult decision about returning to work in an environment where social distancing is virtually impossible, the only valid protection available to them against the invisible risk of coronavirus introduced inside their car are face masks and a new strict hygiene regime.

Extra time is required between appointments to ensure a thorough cleaning of all surfaces inside the vehicle to prevent the potential spread of infections as lessons progress through the course. daytime.

Particular attention is given to disinfecting the steering wheel, gear lever, handbrake and other controls such as turn signals, door handles and even the pedals which are all potentially dangerous after coming into contact with the trainees. drivers as they practice their driving skills for up to two hours at a time.

Driving tests will resume on July 22 as a priority for those whose test was canceled due to coronavirus with additional safety precautions in place.

When you arrange your test, you will need to indicate if there is a good reason why you cannot wear a face covering when taking your test.

At present you cannot book a new driving test if you had not booked a test before the lockdown. Uncertainty remains over how long it will take before the system returns to normal, with more than 400,000 test cancellations across the UK due to the pandemic and some students reportedly having had their theory tests canceled and re-booked up to six times. , it may take a long time for the backlog to be cleared.

ChronicleLive has documented the experiences of Driver Skills North East instructors returning to the road under ‘new normal’ hygiene and social distancing rules after more than 16 weeks off work.

Dave Gill is a former RAF policeman who spent over 20 years working as a driving instructor and instructor trainer in the North of England. His colleague Michael McVickers now covers Durham, Crook, Consett and Chester-le-Street after working as a driving instructor in Australia.