Updated: Jun 29
We previously updated you with our thoughts on what may (or may not) be different once we return to work. Now that we have a date set (4th July) we'd like to confirm a few things. Please do read - this will apply to your lessons.
If you are not having lessons with a DKM Driving instructor, please contact your own instructor for their own specific terms and changes as they may be different to ours.
We are excited to be able to book students in again! Please bear in mind that we have over 300 students across 8 instructors - filling diaries again takes time. We would really appreciate it if you could message your instructor with the dates and times you are available - this will help us get you booked in quickly. We understand that your availability may have changed with work/school commitments, so it would be really helpful to know what dates & times you're available.
We also appreciate that not every student will want to start lessons straight away. This may be due to personal anxieties, personal or household vulnerabilities, financial difficulties from the lockdown period, etc. We will not be forcing students to book lessons, and your 'space' with us will always be here - so please do just drop us a message, even if you don't want a lesson just yet. It's really useful for us to know who is and isn't wanting lessons straight away, and it's just nice to hear from you :) Whenever you are ready to start lessons again, please message us and we'll get you booked in as soon as possible.
We truly cannot wait to see you all again :)
Theory tests will resume from 4th July.
Practical tests will resume from 22nd July, with priority given to those who had tests booked before/during lockdown and that were cancelled by the DVSA. If you had a test cancelled by the DVSA, they will email you in the next few weeks and invite you to apply for a new test date/time. Please make sure your instructor is available on your chosen date/time before booking it.
Hand sanitiser will be available for you to use before and after the lesson. We would also ask you to wash your hands thoroughly at home before and after lessons. All of our instructors will have hand sanitiser in their cars for your use.
Masks and gloves
We are not going to be encouraging you to wear masks or gloves, for various reasons.
1. Communication can be an issue. Masks can muffle voices and the last thing we want is for you to miss an important direction, instruction, or warning, from us! This could become a safety critical incident and that is not what we want.
2. If we had an accident that could be proved to be caused by a communication issue from using a mask, the insurance company may not pay out.
3. Masks are useless when used wrong, worn wrong, or used for too long. Most masks are only effective for 20-30 minutes, which is useless if we do a 1 hour lesson - let alone a 2 hour lesson!
4. Masks can become hot, sweaty, itchy, and sore - this can become a massive distraction whilst you are trying to learn to drive.
5. Face shields & visors - again this could be dangerous, and if an air bag goes off this could cause significant damage to your face. I feel that if we have to use visors/shields, masks or gloves, to reduce the transmission - then we shouldn't be teaching anyway!
6. Gloves can also become hot, sweaty, itchy, and sore - and they could also become slippy. Again this is a massive risk whilst you are driving - the last thing you want is your hands slipping on the steering wheel whilst trying to go round a roundabout! Using gloves can also increase cross contamination. Good hand hygiene, washing your hands and using hand sanitiser is sufficient.
However, if you do wish to wear a mask and gloves, that is your choice and that is ok.
We hope this explains why we will not be using masks and gloves - please let us know if you have any questions.
Disposal of wipes and other PPE
This will be kept in a single use bag and kept in the back of the car, in the footwell. This is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 particles being in the main car space. Instructors will safely dispose of this bag at the end of each day.
We will not be putting plastic partitions between the instructor and driver's seat. If they cover the full length of the car,then we would not be able to reach the steering wheel in the event of an emergency. If it was a half partition to allow us to reach the steering wheel, then virus particles could still get round the partition anyway. Also, our insurance will not cover a plastic partition as a modification, and if we were involved in an accident that plastic partition will do some serious damage. Therefore, we will not be using a plastic partition.
Cleaning the car
We will be wiping down the car before and after every lesson, and we will be deep cleaning our cars at the end of each day. I love that we are personally in charge of cleaning and this is going to be controlled by us - rather than it being like a public shop where everyone is walking in and out, and cleaning would be difficult to manage effectively - whereas our cars are controlled environments and we will be ensuring we clean before and after each lesson, and again at the end of each day.
We have introduced a cleaning log. Our instructors will fill this cleaning log out every time they wipe down and deep clean the car. Wipe downs will be done before and after each lesson, and deep cleans will be at the end of each day.
You are more than welcome to ask your instructor to see this log, to check that the car has been cleaned regularly and before your lesson. We hope this helps you feel safer in the knowledge that our instructors are being responsible and cleaning the car regularly, with the documents as evidence.
Facing each other
The Government has been clear that facing each other increases the risk of transmission. As instructors, we will make sure that we are using our little 'eye' mirrors (one of our additional mirrors on our side) so that we can see you and check that you're checking your mirrors, watch your facial expressions to see if you're worried about something, etc - rather than looking at you directly to see this.
There has been a lot of talk about windows being left open to allow for air flow. Unfortunately this can create a lot of noise especially when driving at speed. This can cause communication and safety issues, therefore we will not be making a point of opening windows on all lessons. This will depend on speed/wind noise/weather conditions. If we are doing manoeuvres and/or moving at slow speeds, then we can and will open windows to allow for air flow, so long as it doesn't cause any communication or safety issues.
Lesson lengths and times
We will still be providing 1 hour, 1.5 hour, and 2 hour lessons. We will be allowing extra time between lessons for cleaning. This may mean that we won't be able to do as many lessons in a day, however will we be doing our best - but we have to be safe and responsible.
Due to the increased risk, we will not be allowing passengers on lessons. This means friends, family members, partners etc will not be allowed on lessons with you. This is for everyone's safety and we're sure you'll understand. We will review this in 6 weeks time and take Government guidelines into account, but at the moment, having additional passengers in the car is an added, unnecessary risk.
If you have any virus symptoms (high temperature, cough, loss of taste/smell) or feeling generally unwell, you must contact your instructor and cancel your lesson - Government guidance currently says anyone with symptoms must self isolate for 7 days - so we will also cancel any other lessons that you have booked within the next 7 days.
This is your responsibility to tell us if you have symptoms. As a growing driving school, we have over 300 students throughout our instructors and we do not have the capacity to message every student before their lesson to see if they have symptoms - so this is YOUR responsibility as our students to tell us if you are unwell and/or have any virus symptoms. Taking driving lessons will be at your own risk.
If you have had a driving lesson and then develop symptoms within the next few days, please contact your instructor to let us know that you have developed symptoms so that we can take appropriate action, such as self isolating and contacting any other students who we have had contact with.
If your instructor develops any virus symptoms, they will contact you and cancel your lessons, and they will self isolate for 7 days.
If we are made aware of any students who have had driving lessons and gone on to develop symptoms shortly after, or if one of our instructors develops symptoms, we will ensure the car is deep cleaned before returning to work.
We have decided we will not be checking student's temperatures. We know that contactless thermometers are less accurate, and if you had the virus and we were that close to you checking your temperature, then it's too late - we would get the virus anyway! We are relying on our students to be honest with us if they have a temperature, and to cancel their lesson - as we said above, you play an important part in this too.
We will have a plastic box in the back of our car for your belongings. Please ensure all phones/bags/purses/umbrellas etc go in this box. This is to avoid cross contamination and to avoid virus particles spreading throughout the car. We will wipe down this box between lessons as part of our cleaning between lessons.
We stopped accepting cash payments in January 2020 when one of our instructors was given fake cash. The Government has said that handling cash is risky due to the virus, so we will continue not to accept cash. We will ONLY accept bank payments, unless there is a good reason why you cannot pay by bank transfer.
Please note: 3 of our instructors have changed their bank accounts during the lockdown period so please contact your instructor and make sure you have their correct bank details. We will do our best to message everyone with the new details.
We are super excited to be able to resume lessons again.
Please bare with us - we are getting our heads around filling diaries again, ensuring our cars are clean and safe, and ready to start your lessons again.
We super appreciate all of your support throughout the lockdown period - we know it's been tough, it's been a roller coaster for many reasons - but we're nearing the end of a difficult time.
As always, please do message us if you have any questions, queries, or even if you'd just like a chat. Laura is the best person to message on 07982 493422. We'd love to hear how you're getting on, even if you don't feel ready to start lessons just yet!