With everything in life dropping a gear these past few months, as a result of the
coronavirus pandemic, the green light finally shone for learner drivers in England earlier
this month. Whether you’re looking to learn to drive in Leeds, or anywhere else across
Yorkshire for that matter, there’s so much to consider ahead of your first lesson – but
that doesn’t mean things have to be daunting. Read on to find out our top tips, before
you get behind the wheel in the ‘new normal’.
1) Dress for Success
This tip can be split into two parts – knowing the correct kind of attire to wear and
ensuring you have all the relevant personal protective equipment (PPE).
It’s important to wear loose-fitting clothing that you are comfortable in, and footwear that
is suitable for driving – ideally flat-soled shoes. But during these times, it’s also
important to ensure you are covered up as much as possible – so long-sleeved clothing
that covers both arms and legs is preferred.
Be aware that in order to ventilate the car, windows will be wound down and there will
be no re-circulatory air via the air conditioning unit. Make sure you are dressed
appropriately for the weather – and exterior coats and jackets may need to be placed in
a plastic bag in the boot, for example.
With regards to PPE, it’s highly advised that both instructor and learner wear a face
mask – and this should cover your nose and mouth, with no gaps between your face
and the covering. Wearers of glasses should also be aware that there is a good chance
their eyewear may fog up, and to rectify any problems safely – check out this quick
video. Gloves aren’t compulsory, although are recommended. It’s important to know
how to dispose of single-use PPE, so please follow HSE guidelines.
2) Carry on Washing your Hands
If there’s one thing we have learnt, it’s the importance of washing our hands. It’s vital
that before and after your lesson, you wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot soapy
water. Also consider what you are touching and there’s no point washing your hands if
you’re then going to touch your face, or phone – which can harbour bacteria. It would be
wise to keep some hand sanitiser on you at all times.
3) Keep Calm and Carry On
It may have been months since your last lesson and the thought of getting back behind
the wheel could be an intimidating prospect. But the best thing to do is remain calm and
focused. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, whether it’s your first ever lesson, or first
lesson for some time. Try and stay patient, things will be a little different at the moment,
but just know that all the ‘roadblocks’ in the way are to protect you – because safety on
the roads is paramount. With every lesson, your confidence will build, but if you are
feeling apprehensive, let your instructor or a family member know.
4) Patience is a Virtue
As we’ve mentioned above, it’s important to remain patient. You might be feeling
frustrated that you’ve not been out on the roads for some time and just want to get
started again. But it’s important to remain patient, particularly with regards to all the
health and safety measures that have been put in place – and at the end of the day,
they’re there to protect you and your instructor!
In the lead-up to your lesson, your instructor may call you to check you are fit and well
enough to proceed. This will include making sure that you’ve not displayed the
symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 7 days, or been in contact with someone who
has symptoms within the last 14 days. It’s crucial you are honest with your answers, as
to avoid putting anyone at risk.
The car will be thoroughly sanitised before every lesson, paying close attention to
common touch-points. These include: seat belts, steering wheel and horn, gearstick,
parking brake, mirrors, and internal and external door handles. At the end of each day,
a deep clean will take place.
5) Respect the guidelines and your instructor
It’s a new and different experience for them as well as you. There are plenty of
recommendations to take on board, particularly from a health and safety point of view.
You won’t be shaking hands with your instructor prior to your lesson starting, and from a
socially-acceptable distance, they will ensure you’re safe to drive. Any visual training
resources will be held up by your instructor and not passed to you, and if you’re talking,
it’s important to talk forwards, to minimise face-to-face contact.
Pens and paper are not to be shared, and if you have your personal handbook, it’s
important that you keep this to yourself. Your instructor may make notes that they will
then send electronically to you after your lesson has finished.
By adhering to all the measures put in place, your driving experience will be as straight-
forward and safe as possible – so nothing to worry about.