Phone us Email us Login
Back to News

Driving Test Booking Has Become A Nightmare Since Covid Lockdowns

July 5, 2023

Image for Driving Test Booking Has Become A Nightmare Since Covid Lockdowns

Booking a Practical Driving Test in the UK has become a nightmare.  This is Particularly so in the South East of England where there is greater demand due to that part of the UK being more densely populated.  The problem has recently been compounded due to recent strike action by DVSA Driving Examiners making it even more difficult to book a test.

The Covid Pandemic resulted in around 8 months worth of Driving Tests being put on hold.  More than 1.8 million Driving Tests were conducted in 2022, so catching this up without tripling the amount of examiners on short term contracts this problem was never going to go a way quickly.  In fairness the DVSA have recruited many more examiners but many have left the profession too because of the pressures of the job since the pandemic.  There has been more abuse towards Driving Examiners particularly if the candidate fails and has to wait another 24 weeks for a new driving test appointment.  Abusing an examiner physically or verbally is inexcusable.  They are just doing their job and now the driving examiners wear body cams to capture this abuse if and when it happens to help gather evidence for the Police.

The British Public's ability to panic buy anything - whether it be loo rolls or pasta is no different to Driving Tests.  If the media report shortages the majority step up and do what they do best - buy too much too soon!  This has happened many times over the decades with Petrol and Diesel being one of them.  To certain extent you can understand this but if we all down tools and go back to normal behaviour in terms of Booking a Practical Driving Test before Covid this would go a long way to solving the problem.  Before the pandemic the waiting list in Newbury was less than 6 weeks and in my 21 years of teaching I had never really seen it go beyond that.  Back in the “Old Days” we could be trusted to keep doing lessons until the candidate was nearly ready and advise them to book their driving test.  In 2023 it is quite common that people pass their Theory Test on their 17th Birthday and try to book a test before they have even sat in a car!  This is really frustrating for us as it seems that we are no longer trusted to manage the pupil's learning and was a big factor as to why my wife Cat quit the profession after 19 years of teaching.  She had literally had enough!

Combine the panic buying with the introduction of “Bots” that have overwhelmed the DVSA booking system it is now almost impossible to book a test in the South East of England. The DVSA have recruited more examiners.  They have set up a new website (which is really useful) to make learner drivers aware of the pass rate, how many lessons they should take and crucially the Top 10 reasons in detail as to why people fail the driving test found here ➡️

“Bots” are effectively computer widgets that pretend to be humans that have gained access to the booking system via Third Party Websites.  For more detail on this read the following ➡️ DVSA Blog Post sent to Driving Instructors recently.  The DVSA did introduce a “Captcha” widget 18 months after the first Covid Lockdown which basically helps reduce “Bots” access to the service.  Artificial Intelligence has been in the news quite a lot recently and can be used to do many things which are incredibly complex so “Captcha” is effectively useless if Artificial Intelligence can be used to write this blog post or drive a car - it will have no problem selecting 6 squares containing “Bicycles”  to make the booking system think they are human 🤣

So what do we recommend ??? 

1. SPEAK TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR First of all we recommend to only book your driving test when you have actually had some lessons and speak to your instructor. The situation I described above will only cause the instructor to roll their eyes 🙄 regarding booking a test without their input especially if you have not even driven before!

2. BOOK ELSEWHERE Once you have consulted your instructor try booking a test elsewhere in the UK like a remote part of Scotland, Wales or the Lake District where there is less competition.  Add all your details and instructors PRN number (so you don't double booked them) and Voila! You will have a test in a place you will never take it!  You can book a test by clicking here

3. GET UP EARLY Then get up at 5.55am on a Monday morning when the DVSA system releases the next bookings in 24 weeks and change your driving test appointment as soon as 6am strikes using this link click here to say Newbury which is the Greenham Driving Test Centre.  This needs to be done as if you try to book one at this time by the time you have entered all the info your slot will have been taken.  Changing an appointment is much quicker!  Enjoy the rest of the day perhaps get some early morning exercise!

4. KEEP TRYING If step 3 does not work keep trying every Monday and try multiple times a day to change your appointment to say Greenham in Newbury. 

5. BE CAREFUL If you choose to use an App or pay a third party to book or manage your booking be careful.  There are lots of scams, phishing and inappropriate use of personal information going on let alone the over inflated pricing to do it.  The best way to catch actual fish that produces result is spend as much time as possible with your rod in the water with bait on the hook.  This is the same as looking for a driving Test!  You just need to look as much and as frequently as possible…

6. DO NOT GIVE UP Keep for Driving Test Bookings on the site as many times a day was possible!  Remember people are changing tests all the time and cancelling.  You just need to be in the right place at the right time.

Below are some articles talking about the subject and please don't just moan about this situation.  It needs changing at Government level.  Write to your local MP with your concerns.  Do so in a friendly, constructive manner and NEVER use abusive language as this will get you nowhere!  Our local MP is Laura Farris and she can be contacted here ➡️

Please Note this blog post has not been written by a bot using Artificial Intelligence.  There maybe typos or grammatical mistakes!

Hope it has been helpful!