A driving school says it has seen demand “surge” by more than 500 percent after the easing of lockdown allowed lessons to recommence. Tuition was stopped for all students except essential workers on March 23, when the UK was plunged into lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the government confirmed driving lessons would begin again on July 4, the AA says it saw a massive increase in the number of people booking tuition. In fact, from the moment the government made the announcement on June 25, the company was inundated, with that Friday seeing lesson bookings up 560 percent week-on-week.

On Saturday, June 26, visits to the AA Driving School website were up 85 percent, while the company reports lesson bookings over that weekend were up by half compared with a normal, pre-lockdown weekend. And that volume of bookings came on top of the more than 10,000 would-be learners who had already joined the waiting list during lockdown.

Learner driver with instructor taking lessons

Under the new regulations, driving lessons can be conducted in England as long as social distancing measures are observed. However, lessons will not resume in Scotland until at least July 31, and there’s no word yet on when lessons will be started in Wales.

English theory tests were also restarted on July 4, but students in Scotland will have to wait until July 22, and Wales still hasn’t said when tests will resume. It’s the same story for practical tests, about which the Welsh government has made no announcement. In England, meanwhile, tests will restart on July 22, but only for candidates who had a test cancelled during lockdown, but the Scottish government has not confirmed when tests will restart north of the border.

Driving instructors car with the learner driving in Portsmouth Hampshire UK

“We are thrilled to be able to help learner drivers after the lockdown restrictions 2 and know that thousands of instructors across England will be welcoming them back with open, socially-distanced, arms,” said Sarah Rees, the managing director of the AA Driving School. “All of our instructors have been issued with detailed guidance about how they can manage the risk of coronavirus and we are confident that they will be prepared to safely and effectively teach.

“We have taken many precautions to ensure pupils will be taught in a safe, effective and comfortable environment during Covid-19. We want pupils to learn with confidence during these uncertain times.”