Covid-19: How To Keep Your Driving Skills Sharp During Lockdown

Last Updated: 10/04/2020

Whenever you learn anything in life, familiarity is a huge help.

So, with lockdown in place across the UK, those who have been learning to drive are in a really tricky situation.

Whether you’re one lesson or 20 lessons into your learner driver journey, having to observe a significant delay between driving lessons can be a nightmare.

You may have just begun to get familiar with elements of the car or being on the road.

Maybe you had finally mastered that tricky manoeuvre, only to see lockdown enforced and those skills ebb away?

Well, while there will certainly be disruption to your learning to drive process, all is not lost.

In fact, we have come up with a list of ways in which you may still be able to get out and behind the wheel to hone your skills during lockdown, as well as a whole range of opportunities that exist to further your driving knowledge.

Let’s start with those practical suggestions as to how you can still get behind the wheel during lockdown.

Lockdown & Essential Travel Only

Before we move on to the actual tips and opportunities, we need to make one thing clear.

If your area is in lockdown, then make sure you take the time to read the latest advice about what you can and cannot do.

For example, when lockdown began, we were only allowed to make essential journeys.

A trip to the supermarket, for example, was one such essential activity allowed.

However, many supermarkets enforced a one customer only from any given family group at a single time, so make sure you’re aware of all of the latest rules.

If you know what you’re legally allowed to do and not allowed to do, then the options below may give you some pointers for getting back out on the road.

Essential Travel With An Immediate Family Member

As we stated above, rules may be in place limiting you to short, essential travel only.

Let’s use the supermarket example.

If your nearest supermarket is within a 5, 10 or 15 minute drive, then feasibly this may present an opportunity for you to get back behind the wheel and do some driving.

This will require a couple of things.

Firstly, you must still be accompanied by someone who has a full driving licence.

By the rules of lockdown, this person will probably have to live with you as well.

Secondly, ensure you are insured on whichever car you use to drive for this purpose.

Thirdly, make sure all of the other usual learner driver elements are in place, such as L plates.

If all of these things are present and you’re within lockdown rules, then you can drive yourself to the supermarket for that essential travel.

You can also drive loved ones to a doctor’s appointment, for example, so long as the above criteria are still met.

Driving lessons

As some lockdown rules are eased and you’re allowed to exercise outside with family members again, so to have the rules been relaxed about being permitted to drive to a location for the purpose of exercise.

Therefore, you could use this as an opportunity – within the rules of lockdown – to go for a driving lesson with an immediate family member, or member of the same household.

Once again, the criteria in our previous point will need to be satisfied and you must actually be travelling for purposes stated (for example exercise).

This could be a walk in the park or at a nearby beach.

This is assuming your immediate family member is in a position to teach you some driving skills and you feel comfortable driving under their tutelage.

Obviously, this does not class as a lesson from an official DVSA approved driving instructor but it’s a pretty good alternative in order to keep some of those skills sharp.

Familiarise Yourself With A Car – Without Driving

Okay, so if you cannot leave your home in a car legally during lockdown, as many people will not be able to, then you may be thinking that you’re short of ways in which you can spend time in a car.

Well, there may be another option.

If your family, or household, have a car at the property you’re living at which is parked off-road (for example on a driveway), then you may be able to jump in and do some basic orientation without moving the vehicle an inch.

This is obviously much more beneficial if it’s the car you will be driving once you pass your test, or better still, that you’re using to take your lessons/test in.

While you may not be able to drive it anywhere, there is still considerable value to be had by spending some time sat in it and familiarising yourself with the layout.

Look for where the key controls are, as well as those you may use less frequently.

You could even press the clutch and practice some gear changes.

It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely beneficial to be in the car and at least keeping yourself familiar with sitting in the driving seat.

Know Your Car Maintenance

Okay, so this final point isn’t necessarily going to be behind the wheel, but it could well be.

A key part of the driving test for several years has been to do with basic car maintenance.

Topping up the screen-wash and checking tyre pressure etc, those types of pretty simple maintenance activities are important when it comes to passing your driving test and becoming a safe driver.

If you have a car in the family at your property, this is definitely something you can do and improve your knowledge of ahead of your driving test.

Spend some time consulting your owner’s manual as well – there is a tonne of useful information in there too.