– Article/Photos by Rod Fuller –
It’s a new world out there, with restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But there’s still signs of life continuing on, people getting ‘out and about’ (albeit in limited circumstances) and learner drivers out in force on the road.
With many working from home, restrictions about travel in place and the need to have a reasonable excuse to leave your home like grocery shopping, exercise (I’ve never seen so many dogs being taken for walks) and social distancing it’s all very different to what we are used to.
I don’t know if it’s just me noticing them, but with the roads quieter with less traffic due to the Coronavirus restrictions, there seems to be an explosion of the number of “L” platers on the road. They’re just about everywhere, driving school and family cars, clocking up those Log Book hours, any hour of the day or night. It’s a sea of cars out there, with the ‘Big yellow apology tags’ fitted.
One reason for this might well be, receiving or providing driving lessons, is considered as a “reasonable excuse” for leaving your place of residence. As you can’t very well do it at home (unless you have a very long driveway). With the roads quieter, it’s a good opportunity for learners’ to practice in a slightly easier environment and log some extra hours, plus get out of the house.
The law/restrictions in every state are different and you should always be aware of the requirements for “L” platers are in your state. I must admit though, when the mother and daughter were fined in Victoria, I certainly took notice and paid attention to that story. But thankfully here in NSW, the Police were very quick to clarify their position on learner drivers.
To be honest, for “L” platers it hasn’t changed that much. I’ve been teaching my son to drive for the last seven months and from when we started to now, the only real difference in what we do is, that now we can’t stop and sit at Maccas for a drink – we have to take it with us.
Learning to drive though is not immune from the impacts of COVID-19. The same hygiene and social distancing measures that are being applied in every other part of life still apply, when you head out on the road for a lesson. Some good ideas I’ve found are:-
- Regularly wiping down the steering wheel, keys, gear knob, door handles with a disinfectant wipe
- Use disposable gloves when filling up at the petrol station
- Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser in the car with you
And please, when you see an “L” plater when you are out on the road, give them a break. They’re learning, they will make mistakes, have an issue in manoeuvring the car or make a wrong decision. But I can tell you this, blowing your horn, flashing your lights or even in some cases yelling/abusing them is NOT going to help. Such things will not lower the “L” platers stress levels (or that of the instructor’s) nor will it get them out of your way any faster; in fact it will probably prolong the issue, delaying you even further!! So please don’t.
Under the current Coronavirus restrictions, driving lessons are allowed. It’s all common sense really, listen to the advice given by the authorities, practice good hygiene and social distancing. And most importantly, stay safe and enjoy.