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James Armstrong white clock learner driver5 minute read Guides Learner Drivers

All the latest lockdown rules for learner drivers

When can you get back to learning to drive and what are the rules?

James Armstrong

Learning to drive over the last year has felt like trying to get first place in Rainbow Road on Mario Kart. Every time you think you’re getting there, another turn in the road sees you plummeting off course and ending up right back at the start. But, there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel; dates for driving lessons and tests to resume across the UK have been released. It’s game time.  

When will driving tests resume?  

Get yourself geared up and ready to go. At long last we have dates that practical and theory tests can restart across the UK. Let’s break it down.  


  • Theory tests are back on from 12th April 
  • Practical driving tests are back on from 22nd April  


  • Theory tests are back on from 12th April  
  • Practical driving tests are back on from 22nd April  


  • Theory tests will be back on from 26th April at the earliest  
  • Practical driving tests will be back on from 6th May at the earliest  

What to do if you’ve had your test cancelled?  

If you’re one of the many learner drivers who’s had their driving test cancelled, you’re not alone. There are currently 420,000 car tests in the backlog and there are some serious wait times for test dates, depending on where you are in the UK.  

DVSA are rescheduling tests that can’t take place in date order, so you should get an email from them with information on rescheduling your test. Or, you can change your driving test appointment here. Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay. It’s currently free to change your test date because of Covid.  

We’ve got a whole guide on how to book your driving test that may be helpful for you.  

What if your theory test certificate has expired during lockdown?  

Theory test certificates expire after 2 years. With all the lockdown restrictions, up to 50,000 of you have had your theory test expire during the pandemic. Despite the petitions, the date hasn’t been extended so you’ll still need to pay £23 and re-book your theory test.  

Restarting tests

For theory tests, DVSA are putting plans in place to open new temporary theory test centres and increase opening hours at existing ones to try and get as many people to test day ASAP.  

The plan is to have examiners doing 6 practical tests per day in England, Wales and Scotland. If you fail your test, the examiner will direct you straight back to the test centre to reduce the amount of time spent in the car.

Last time driving tests were on there were no waiting rooms available. This time around, the DVSA are opening 223 waiting rooms.

When can driving lessons start again?  

Driving lessons can go ahead in England and Wales from April 12th. You’ll have to wait a bit longer if you’re in Scotland with lessons to start no earlier than 26th April.  

What’s the guidance on covid for driving lessons?  

If you were learning to drive during the last window that lessons and tests were on, you’ll know the drill. There will be measures in place to keep both you and your driving instructor safe. The DVSA have set out some rules for driving tests and instructors are being advised to follow these in their lessons too.  

In Scotland it’s law for instructors and pupils to wear a face covering during driving lessons. In England and Wales it’s being strongly advised.

These rules may vary across driving schools so it’s a good idea to have a chat with your instructor to make sure you’re up to speed before your lesson. Generally you can expect:  

  • Payments made online
  • Non-contact thermometer to take your temperature
  • Hand washing before and after your lesson
  • Face masks to be worn by both you and your instructor
  • Gloves to be warn by your instructor
  • Open windows to keep the air flowing
  • Car surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned between lessons 

It goes without saying that your lesson will be cancelled if you or your instructor show any symptoms of coronavirus. In this case, you’ll need to get a covid test and self-isolate.  

Your driving instructor may even have rapid lateral flow tests to test instructors for coronavirus before going out on lessons; the kits are free of charge until 30 June for businesses in England that have registered by 12th April.  

What about private practice?  

The stay at home rule has ended so private practice is officially back on. The guidance in England and Scotland is to stay local and the guidance in Wales is not to drive into England. If you’ve got your practical test booked in, you can start practicing outside of your lessons and make up for lost time behind the wheel.  

You’ll need a supervisor who is over 21 and has held their license for more than 3 years. Here’s some detailed guidance about who can supervise a learner driver. You’ll also need to be insured. With our learner driver insurance, you can practice with a friend or family member from 2 hrs up to 180 days. Get cover on your own car or borrow someone else’s; if you’re borrowing a car, it won’t even affect the owner’s no claims bonus if you need to make a claim.  

Good luck!  

After waiting all this time we know lots of you are itching to pass your test as soon as possible. We’ve got you, here’s our tips on how to pass your driving test first time.  

Along with the excitement, it’s natural to feel nervous about getting back behind the wheel after a break from driving regularly. We’ve also got some guidance on learning to drive with anxiety that you may find helpful.  

James Armstrong

James is the CEO of Veygo, a leader in short-term car insurance. Former Head of Risk within Admiral Group Insurance and over 15 years in the financial sector. James is keen to learn more about learner drivers, and car drivers in general, to change the world of car insurance and get more people behind the wheel.

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