Boost Your Driving Skills In Lockdown
How can you make sure your driving knowledge is up to date during lockdown?
Driver training has been affected on a massive scale since the start of the Pandemic back in March 2020. All driving lessons, driving tests and theory test were suspended while the country was in lockdown. Something which had never been done in the history of learning to drive. The DVSA had no back up plan for something like this and their systems weren’t built to be effectively turned off.
Driving lessons and test were stopped for around 4 months of 2020 with only ‘key workers’ being permitted lessons and tests if having a licence was needed to help fight Covid-19. Lessons and test were then suspended off and on during the latter part of 2020 and here again at the beginning of 2021, we see ourselves being stopped from taking lessons or sitting a test.
Some learner drivers have missed out on numerous test dates that have been postponed a few times, and some learners have spent extra money on taking lessons while they wait for a driving test or theory test. The effects of this are going to be felt for a long time (as with most industries across the country) for a number of years. Due to the cancellation of lessons and tests, there is a massive backlog which isn’t going to go down over night once we come out of this.
The DVSA are putting plans in place to try to alleviate the effects of the backlog by extending testing windows, testing 6 and possibly 7 days a week and they are currently recruiting for new driving examiners. There have also been effort to get the 2 year validity period of the theory pass test certificate extended by taking it to parliament and being debated however, the government have voted against this due to road safety concerns. You can read more about that here.
HOW CAN YOU BOOST YOUR DRIVING SKILLS IN LOCKDOWN?
While we’re all in lockdown 3.0 and waiting for restrictions to be lifted, we can do a lot to help keep our knowledge, boost your driving skills in lockdown, and stay up to date. No doubt you have been taking a number of lessons or you could be up to test standard. Think about how you’re going to feel once you sit back behind the wheel of a car. You may be nervous and anxious about getting back on the road with all those other more experienced drivers. Or maybe you have a driving test soon after we come out of lockdown. How do you think you’re going to feel without the practise over the last couple of months and having to drive to a high standard to pass your driving test. I know I would feel like I needed to brush up on my skills, to ensure I had the best chance to pass first time.
While we cannot get behind the wheel of a driving instructors car, we can take other steps to get some practise in whether it be practical or theoretical. Think of this like your exams at school/college. Would you go into a school exam not revising or taking extra tuition to ensure you pass? it could mean the difference between getting those results you need to progress to university or get that dream job. I’m sure you would do anything you could to ensure you are well prepared! Learning to drive is no different. Think about why you want to pass your driving test. Most people want to pass so they don’t have to rely on lifts from friends/parents or need a driving licence to get that promotion at work or new job.
Of course there is a practical element to learning to drive but it’s a lot like learning anything else. It’s about training the brain to remember a certain way of doing something. A lot of what you do as a driver is muscle memory, however we can discount that fact that behind the wheel you always need to be 100% focused no matter how good a driver you are. That routine you use to prepare to turn left at the end of a side road is exactly that. It’s a routine that you will use every time you do that same task of turning left at the end of the road. Having that routine to memory will help you put your focus on other areas such as thinking about what hazards there are around you or anticipating what could happen ahead.
Those routines, learning about who has priority at a roundabout or what a flashing amber light at a pedestrian crossing means can be done in the comfort of your home in front of a book, computer, laptop or phone. There are a number of books, apps, websites, and even training courses on line that can train you to drive whilst you’re not behind the wheel. If you’re learning to drive with Les Hopkinson Driver Training, you will already be familiar with this as ‘Homework’ is something that I preach about a lot. I’m a big believer of making an effort to learn and research for yourself.
In my spare time, I am an amateur photographer. However, I have never been trained in photography. I did a little bit when I was doing media studies and work experience when I was at school. I am completely self taught and did this through learning about cameras, how a photograph is a capture of light and how to take a good photograph thorough using resources such as books, magazines the internet (Youtube and Google). It was then a case of putting what I learned into practise with the camera in my hand. Learning to drive can be exactly the same process. Doing the theoretical work outside of your driving lessons, will not only help you progress through your lessons quicker but give you a better chance of passing the driving test or theory test first time.
What resources can you use to boost your driving skills while in lockdown?
Books – Below are a list of great books available to buy online at Amazon
Theory Test Revision Apps
Driving Test Success is Apples no1 downloaded driving theory app and has recently been voted Professional Support Provider of the Year sponsored by ADINJC at the Intelligent Instructor awards. If you use the app and learn to drive with Les Hopkinson Driver Training you can link up the app with my student companion app and share your theory progress. DTS also offers a ‘PASS GUARANTEE’ which could see them refund your theory test fee if you fail the theory tests after following their learning programme. Find out more here
The Learn to drive app has some fantastic animated videos going through how to deal with roundabouts to performing manoeuvres.
If you’re more of a visual learner and prefer to watch something being done to learn, then Youtube might be the place for you. Have a look at the Youtube channels below;
Advance driving school have some very well presented videos with shots from every angle helping you understand what, when and where as they explain what you need to do.
Go2 driving school record their driving lessons, so you get a good understanding of how driving lessons work and how learners feel throughout the process.
LDC have long been running driving lessons for many years. A we respected and highly successful driving school
CAN I STILL PRACTISE IN THE CAR?
Of course you can’t practise or have lessons with a driving instructor, however, one way you can boost your driving skills in lockdown is, you are allowed to get behind the wheel with someone in your own household and practise driving while taking an essential journey. Click here to check out my guide to private practise
Just a small list, but as you can see, there are plenty of online resources to help you along the way during lockdown. Make use of this time and give yourself the best chance of passing your test first time or if you’re just returning to lessons after the lockdown, making it easier for you to settle in to the driving seat once more.
Hopefully once we do return to driving lessons in 2021, we can continue uninterrupted, but of course that will depend on what the infections and deaths are like associated with Covid-19. Please continue to follow the governments advice about Staying at Home – Protecting the NHS – Saving Lives. STAY SAFE