Have you forgotten how to drive?
We have all been locked down for over six weeks so far due to the coronavirus outbreak. I have received many texts from worried students of mine asking if they have forgotten how to drive. There is a lot of anxiety surrounding this as of course learning to drive with a qualified approved driving instructor costs, well earned, money. Coupled with this there is an anxiety that the student simply wants or needs to pass their driving test as soon as possible. They might be starting a new job or going away to university where driving may be needed or simply they may wish to just enjoy driving this summer.
I have also had many texts asking me to increase the amount of lessons they are doing when the crisis is over so they can pass quickly. I wish to talk about this first.
Driving test book prior to the lockdown
If you had a driving test book prior to the lockdown then this will have been rearranged based on when your test originally was to take place. Therefore if you had a test booked then it will have been rearranged from somewhere between June and September. The DVSA has kept the same order as your test was originally booked so that you dont lose your place. This is a long wait for some students who were ready or close to test standard but for those students who haven’t started driving as yet or who are in the early stages of learning are they able to pass quickly?
The simple answer unfortunately is ‘no!’. This is because with the rearranged tests and no idea how tests will be conducted when the lockdown finishes there will be no early tests available. Therefore having extra lessons when you can will not speed up the testing process. You will still be likely to get a test somewhere between September and Christmas. There will be tens maybe hundreds of thousand students trying to book tests when they can again so dont be surprised if the earliest test availability is early 2021.
My advice therefore is to reserve your weekly driving slot with your instructor as soon as possible as we expect to be in extreme demand when the lock down finishes. When you have done this please be patient, we will teach you to drive as quickly as we can but we cannot spend up the actual testing process.
Ready or close to test standard
For those students who were ready or close to test standard I can assure you that you have not forgotten what you have learned. When you get back in the car try to do so with a clear head. The more you think about how to do it the less you will remember. Think about when you misplace your keys for example. You look everywhere and panic as you cant find them. If you sit down and take a break from trying to find them it is much more likely that their location will pop into your head.
This isn’t dissimilar to driving. Remember your body has learned through repetition how to drive. Your muscle memory will ensure you can still do it. Yes you might be a little rusty for a few minutes but you will get back into you stride very quickly. In fact through my experience I have seen many a student who has actually improved after a large break as they have taken the pressure off themselves on how to do it.
Sooner or later we will get back to a sort of normal. It is frustrating that your learning will have been put back a few months but that is out of everybody’s control.
Enjoy the break. Keep safe. We are there for you when we are able to teach again.