This week we have news on theory tests, and we’ve been busy recording more video footage for our series of Virtual Lessons. There’s also advice on keeping safe when travelling during Covid-19.
With the lower numbers of cars on the road, there has been a noticeable improvement in air quality, and there is some hope for the electric future with news of a nationwide grant towards greener travel.
I hope you’ve had a good week.
Theory test booking is open
The official website for booking a theory test is now open and you can book a theory test from 1st June 2020. If you were contemplating booking it, or you had your theory test cancelled, now is the time to rebook it.
If you need access to Driving Test Success to restart your practice or refresh your knowledge, please get in touch.
New virtual lesson available
Traffic lights and trucks: a new entry in our Virtual Lessons series. Filmed around the Wolverhampton test area, this lesson focuses on traffic lights (especially right turns and filter arrows) and also looks at planning to overtake, and fuel-efficient driving. From £1.99 for a 50-minute video lesson. It’s available to stream straight away once you’ve completed the checkout, and you can watch it as many times as you like.
Virtual lessons are an excellent way to learn during the lockdown. If you find videos a good way to learn, then this is for you. To learn more about Virtual Lessons, click here.
Most authorities are encouraging people to walk, cycle or drive if they have to travel. Public transport is still available but is operating on a limited service. You should only use it as a last resort.
Where can you get a driving lesson for less than a fiver?
During the forced lockdown, while some people have been resting on their laurels, we’ve been busy developing a few online tools. As well as our Instructor Training portal, we’ve developed virtual lessons.
Using multiple in-car cameras, and microphones, we’ve created a lesson that you can watch online.
Naturally, this can’t replace actual experience in the car, using the controls, feeling the pedals, listening to the engine noise. And we can’t recreate the fear of, say, rolling backwards on a hill. But we can give you tips on how to react to a roll-back, and how to avoid it in the first place.
Our virtual lessons are priced at just £1.99 for a 30-minute lesson that you can watch again and again on your phone, laptop, smart TV, or tablet. We think that’s a bargain; especially as you have lifetime access to any videos you purchase.
Bounce-Back Offers for loyal customers are now live.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on small businesses. In order to give Inclusive Driving a financial boost, and secure future business from customers who have been loyal and patient, we have developed three special offers.
We also appreciate that these are likely to be tough financial times for you too, so these offers are designed to be mutually beneficial.
Credit cards accepted
We accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards so you can take advantage of these offers in a way affordable to you.
As with other businesses such as cafes, supermarkets, and leisure centres, we will have to follow very strict precautions to be “Covid-Secure”. We will be limiting the number of lessons available each day to allow time for the necessary cleaning and decontamination measures to be carried out safely and effectively. We are therefore inviting you, as an existing customer, to secure these limited lesson spaces in advance before we advertise for new customers.
To encourage you to book in advance, we are offering some fabulous discounts and freebies: fancy a free motorway lesson? We anticipate being allowed to commence driving lessons on the 4th July but no matter when the Government allow us to restart, your prepayment will secure you a space in the diary. In the unlikely event that we cannot fit you in you will be given a full refund.
Covid Safety, Bounce Back Offers, and Instructor Training
Government advice is currently suggesting that driving instructors might be able to return to work on the 4th of July. Naturally, this is subject to change at any time, however, we are using this as a target date and making preparations to recommence lessons in the safest way possible.
How we will keep safe
As a business, there will, of course, be strict measures in place to be “Covid-Secure”, as per government guidelines. We will also need to make changes to our working style to ensure we can operate viably. This document sets out these changes, what we will do, and what you will be expected to do before, during, and after your lesson.
Your instructor will wear a face covering. Students will be required to provide their own clean face covering and wear it during the lesson. Exceptions may be made for learners with hearing impairments who need to lipread.
Students who wear glasses may find that wearing a face-covering causes their glasses to steam up. This can be minimised by using washing-up liquid to keep the lenses clean.
Students must wash their hands immediately before a lesson, and will be required to use a hand sanitiser provided by the instructor before touching any control surfaces. If you have any allergies that may affect you in this respect, please let your instructor know.
The instructor will clean the car controls at the end of your lesson, before driving away. As an additional step, disinfectant wipes will be provided at the start of the lesson for the student to clean the controls (any controls touched by hand e.g. handbrake, gear stick, steering wheel, indicator stalk) to their satisfaction. The instructor will dispose of these wipes.
You will not be expected to wear gloves as we feel this reduces the ability to use controls safely. Your instructor may wear gloves if students are in the early stages where the instructor may need to intervene and use the controls e.g. gear stick, steering wheel.
It is recommended that car windows be open when driving, however, this can make it difficult for students to hear the instructor and vice-versa. We will, instead, keep the front windows closed, keep the rear windows open, and use the heating/cooling system to keep adequate ventilation through the car, directing from front to rear.
Bounce Back Lessons
Sadly, this period of lockdown has caused many driving instructors to hang up their keys, and find other means of employment. Inclusive Driving is exceedingly proud of our achievements in the last 12 months, and we are determined to survive. Trainee instructors, who have only a six-month licence, have also been affected, and driving schools who previously used large numbers of trainees are finding themselves in difficulty.
With fewer instructors in the area, demand for lessons is expected to be high and we will of course need to ensure our diaries are full. However, we have relied heavily on loyal customers such as you, and we will not take advantage of you by being greedy and pushing up our prices.
In fact, we intend to make a sensible business decision to protect ourselves and at the same time reward you for your patience and loyalty.
Keep a lookout for an announcement coming soon from Inclusive Driving about our “Bounce Back Lessons” offers. These time-limited offers will allow you to secure a place in the diary, and benefit from a choice of special offers.
Train as a Driving Instructor
As driving is an essential skill for almost every job, we expect the Driving School industry to ride the storm and flourish sooner than many other industries. At inclusive driving, we are qualified to train instructors. During the period of lockdown, we haven’t sat still: we have developed our own training course and are ready to release it.
In three parts, the first is a theory unit, which you could easily study during lockdown!
If you or a member of your family has experience in special needs and has held a driving licence for at least three years, then you or they could become an Inclusive Driving Instructor!
Please get in touch by email to email@example.com if you would like further details.
It’s time for another update on the Covid-19 situation.
As you will be aware, the Prime Minister made an announcement yesterday on plans to ease the lockdown. Although there were some encouraging (if somewhat confusing) announcements with regards to people returning to work, it appears that two-metre social distancing must still be observed.
Naturally, social distancing is not possible during driving lessons and for this reason, lessons are still suspended.
Having read these guidelines, it is now clear that the driving school industry will not be opening during steps 1 or 2, and therefore unless there are significant changes to the plan, I will not be providing driving lessons until at least 4th July.
Step 3. The Government’s current planning assumption is that this step will be no earlier than 4 July […] the ambition at this step is to open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care (such as hairdressers and beauty salons). (page 31)
I am also taking guidance from several other sources: the daily Downing St updates, the Approved Driving Instructor groups such as ADI-National Joint Council, and the Driving Instructor Association, and also the DVSA who administer driving tests. Driving and Theory tests are still suspended nationwide, and I believe this is a good guideline for staying closed for business.
I will reopen when evidence from the above sources suggest it is safe, legal and appropriate, however, it would appear from the above government guidelines that lessons will remain suspended until July at the earliest.
As always, I will attempt to keep you updated, and I hope that the goalposts do not get moved.
As lockdown continues for a further three weeks, it’s time for another update on how this affects driving lessons and tests.
We are currently not allowed to provide lessons unless the learner is a keyworker with a confirmed driving test booking.
Theory tests are suspended until 8th May 2020. If you had a theory test booked, it will not be rescheduled automatically. Your test will be cancelled and a refund issued.
If your theory certificate expires (or has expired already) then, unfortunately, there are no extensions beyond the two years. (Personally, I think that if MOTs can be extended by six months, then why not Theory Certificates?)
Practical tests are slowly being rebooked. If your test was booked by me, then new dates will come to me. I will let you know the new date.
If you booked your own test then the new date will be sent to you. Please contact me as soon as possible with the new date.
Please note that rebooked test dates are subject to my availability and your availability. It is also possible that dates may be changed again if government policy changes and the lockdown is extended again.
Also, please remember that your test date may need to be moved again if the interruption in lessons means that you have not yet reached the required standard to be presented for the test.
Telling you off!
I also need to give you all a telling off as almost nobody has logged in to Driving Test Success! Remember that it is important to keep up your theory practice so that when theory tests restart, you will be ready to go!
Driving Test Success also provides valuable practical videos to help you prepare for driving lessons when we restart. This could actually reduce the number of lessons you ultimately need! And I’m providing it for free! If you need your subscription resetting then please let me know.
We are also grateful to John Farlam from Driver Active who has made access to www.driveractive.com free! This is another set of online practical videos.
Please, please make use of these free resources.
I wish you all the best and thank you for your understanding.
I want to keep you all up to date while we are unable to carry on with lessons. The Chancellor unveiled a support package for self-employed workers; which captures the majority of driving instructors. unfortunately, it is on offer only to those who have completed a 2019 tax return. Those who have been self-employed for less than 12 months will not receive the support. My thoughts are with them and their families.
The government have extended MOTs for six months but it is still vital that you keep your vehicle safe and roadworthy. To this end, yesterday I compiled a downloadable booklet on keeping your car roadworthy and reducing the likelihood of a breakdown during this difficult time.
I am selling this download for a bargain price of £2.49 via my website. Originally, I was hoping to make a few quid while I was not able to teach but in light of the plight of some of my local instructor friends, I have decided that 100% of the profit from this booklet will be channelled into the pockets of some instructors less fortunate than myself.
Please, please, support and share the link to the product below.
Thank you, and I’ll see you when this all blows over.
The difficult decision has been made to suspend business for an unspecified period. We are seeing the situation worsen on a daily basis, and we are all having to change our decisions as the situation changes. I feel it is now the right thing to close my business temporarily.
It is impractical impossible to follow social distancing guidelines in a car and to continue lessons would put you, your family, me, and my family at risk.
Remember you still have access to Driving Test Success (if it has expired, ask me to renew it for free). Even if you have passed your theory test, there is still a practical section (you will find the practical videos on the left-hand menu) with useful videos on all aspects of driving.
You can also access Driver Active free (the owner has very generously removed the need to pay for it) while we are in these uncertain times.