Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons

Published: 24 Aug 2020
Last updated: 15 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Guidance on reducing the risks from COVID-19 when carrying out driving and motorcycle lessons.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vehicle lessons
Driving lessons

Driving lessons

In areas where levels 0 to 3 restrictions apply under the Strategic Framework all vehicle lessons can continue to operate in line with this guidance. 

In areas where level 4 restrictions apply, all vehicle lessons must not proceed, unless all occupants are members of the same household. This includes: 

  • an instructor who operates from premises within a level 4 area 
  • an instructor who lives within a level 4 area
  • a client who lives within a level 4 area

Where either of the first 2 points above apply, an instructor should not provide lessons in any local authority area, regardless of the level of restrictions applying in that area. In addition, an instructor must not provide lessons to a client who lives in a level 4 area.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus)(Restrictions and Requirements)(Local Levels)(Scotland) Regulations 2020 were amended to allow vehicle lessons and tests to go ahead in Level 4 for police services, fire services and bus company employees where delegated authority has been received by DVSA.

Delivering a driving lesson

When delivering a driving lesson instructors should:

  • practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including washing hands regularly
  • wash your hands and put a face covering on prior to the meet and greet. The wearing of face coverings are mandatory for both instructor and learner and should be worn inside the vehicle at all times, unless in one of the exempted categories or from the same household. If only one occupant of the vehicle falls within an exempted category, other occupants must continue to wear their covering throughout
  • ensure where possible that clients’ hands have been washed immediately prior to the driving lesson - have hand sanitiser ready for clients to use but ensure this is safely and securely stored
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. When applying or removing the face covering, it’s important you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face
  • ensure the tuition vehicle is well ventilated, by opening windows. A balance must be struck between ensuring the vehicle is well ventilated and being able to hear instructor/client without shouting. Use your judgement, particular when driving through louder/busier areas and at higher speeds
  • instructors should switch on ventilation systems which should be set to draw in fresh air and not to recirculate it. You should encourage your employees to keep vehicle windows open. If it’s cold they can leave the heating on to keep the vehicle comfortable consider if your goal setting for a driving lesson and final feedback could be done outside the vehicle whenever possible
  • have discussions regarding scenarios outside of vehicle where safe and legal to do so. If inside, try to avoid directly facing your client instead both looking forward
  • ensure any visual aids, demonstrations or training resources are held by you and not passed to the client
  • consider wherever possible giving any briefing notes digitally
  • if you give a demonstration drive you will need to wipe down the controls before and after the drive
  • wipe down controls if you need to touch these ,pulling up at the earliest convenience. After sanitising, ensure hands and controls are dry and not slippery before undertaking any manoeuvres

Face coverings

  • From 2 November 2020, it is mandatory that a face covering is worn in an enclosed motor vehicle, while in use for a driving lesson or driving test, unless exempt under the current regulations or all occupants are from the same household. If only one occupant of the vehicle falls within an exempt category, other occupants must continue to wear their covering throughout
  • if the client does not have a face covering the instructor should provide one. Face coverings must be worn by instructors and clients for the duration of the driving lesson. The client should keep or dispose of the face covering and not leave it with the instructor or in the vehicle at the end of the lesson
  • ensure the covering covers your mouth and nose and that the top of the face covering remains above the nose at all times. Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the covering
  • avoid touching the covering while using it. If you do, you should wash your hands with soap and water
  • do not use face shields as this carries a risk of injury in the instance of an air bag being deployed
  • identity checks should be carried out before entering the vehicle and from a distance of at least 1 metres - where a client arrives for a driving lesson wearing a face covering, you may need to ask them to temporarily remove it to confirm their identity
  • should the client be wearing a niqab (full face veil worn for religious purposes), you should be sensitive in ensuring the privacy of the client when carrying out the identity check. You must consider the client’s wishes of their face not being seen by others during the identity check. This may mean just asking the client to position with their back towards others present before removing their niqab.
  • in some circumstances, it may be necessary to wait for other clients/individuals to leave the immediate area before the identity can be checked
  • if clients present for the driving lesson and are wearing glasses and a face covering, make them aware of the increased possibility of glasses/eye protection fogging up. Where issues arise with this on lesson, offer advice and guidance to help resolve the problem. If the issues continue to interfere with the safety of the lesson, terminate/stop the lesson on safety grounds
  • not attending if symptomatic or self-isolating; physical distancing; hand washing; respiratory hygiene; and surface cleaning are still the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, therefore the wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions
  • See: guidance on the use of face coverings

Physical distancing

  • follow government rules for physical distancing where possible before and after a driving lesson. This includes, but is not limited to, meet and greet, goal setting, and discussions regarding specific driving scenarios
  • politely remind clients of the requirement for physical distancing in line with government guidelines
  • do not shake the clients hand or let them touch unnecessary equipment
  • provide any relevant paperwork to the client in digital format where possible. If not possible, ensure that any forms are signed preferably with the client’s own pen
  • ensure any licence checks, including comparing of signatures, ID etc, are completed without handling the licence
  • encourage use of hand sanitiser before and after handling paper work

Driver/front passenger screens 

  • instructors should not conduct driving lessons in vehicles fitted with screens between the driver and front passenger
  • screens between the driver and front passenger in vehicles used for driving training provide limited benefits in protecting people from coronavirus
  • these screens can restrict vision of the candidate or the road and may prevent quick exit from the vehicle in an emergency
  • screens can also prevent an instructor taking action in the event of an emergency, for example by using the steering wheel
  • incorrectly installed or non-approved screens may also cause injury in the event of a crash where the air bags or other restraint systems are deployed
  • any screen that is fitted would need to be removed for a driving test. Instructors should consider this before installing screens in their training vehicle. This does not apply to buses and other similar vehicles where screens are routinely fitted as part of normal operations
  • this guidance is consistent with guidance from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for driving tests

Vehicle cleaning

Before and after each driving lesson instructors should:

  • ensure that the vehicle is cleaned. Whenever the instructor and client switch seats, ensure that all touch points have been sanitised and wiped clean
  • clean all hard surfaces both inside and outside the vehicle such as door handles, window winders, seat belts, card payment devices, boot access, the rear of the front seats and other surfaces passengers may have touched
  • wash/sanitise their hands
  • dispose of any single use items

At the end of each day instructors should:

  • thoroughly clean the vehicle
  • dispose of, or wash, any seat covers, wipes and PPE waste as recommended


  • if the instructor/client attends the driving lesson with clear symptoms of Coronavirus, the lesson must not go ahead and people with symptoms should remain at home and self-isolate. It is advised that instructors contact client ahead of lesson by phone to confirm they are not symptomatic or self-isolating
  • if the instructor/client becomes unwell or starts to cough continuously during the lesson, you must stop the lesson
  • if someone within the household of the instructor/client develops symptoms or tests positive for covid-19 then the lesson must not go ahead. In the case of a positive test result, the test and trace guidance should be followed
  • see: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection on NHS Inform

First published: 24 Aug 2020 Last updated: 15 Jul 2021 -