People learning to drive have seen huge disruption in driving lessons and tests amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All testing and lessons were suspended during the first UK-wide lockdown and again during the second English lockdown in November.

As England moves into a tiered system of restrictions, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has issued new guidance on theory and practical driving tests and driving lessons.

When can driving tests restart?

From December 2 theory and practical driving tests are taking place in most parts of the country.

Theory tests have resumed across all regions, with social distancing and stricter hygiene measures in place at test centres.

Practical driving tests in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas resume on Tuesday December 2.

In Tier 3 areas they will restart on Thursday December 3, with additional restrictions in place.

Anyone whose test was cancelled during the most recent lockdown will have to rebook.

If your theory test pass certificate has expired during the lockdown you will need to resit the theory test before taking a practical test.

Read more: The busiest and quietest driving test centres - easiest place to book a test revealed

Changes to driving tests in Tier 3

Driving tests in England’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 are being carried out as usual, with pre-existing conditions in place (see below).

However, in Tier 3 in England, the DVSA is reducing the number of tests an examiner can conduct each day. From December 3, examiners in Tier 3 will only carry out five tests per day, meaning some drivers may find their tests postponed or cancelled. The DVSA is yet to clarify how this decision will be made or what will happen to those affected.

Any driver in Tier 3 who cannot wear a face mask during their test may also have their test delayed unless an examiner is willing to conduct the test with a candidate not wearing a mask.

Driving test rules

To reduce the risk of spreading the Covid infection, the DVSA has introduced new rules around driving tests.

Candidates and instructors must wear a face covering unless they have a good reason not to. These reasons include a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, or if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress. If you arrive for your test without a mask and do not have a valid reason for not wearing one your test will be cancelled.

Candidates should arrive at the test centre no more than five minutes before their test and should ensure that their car interior is cleaned before the examiner gets in. This includes tidying away unnecessary items and wiping down all controls and touchpoints.

Windows in the test vehicle must be kept open at all times.

Instructors are not allowed to remain in the car during the test but can listen to post-test feedback as long as social distancing is maintained.

You should not attend for your test if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms or if you have been told by the track and trace service that you’ve been in contact with someone who has the virus.

If you cannot attend at short notice due to these rules, you can change your driving test appointment free of charge via the DVSA website.

Driving lessons

As with driving tests, driving lessons can now resume across England, including in Tier 3 regions.

However, learners must not take a lesson if they or anyone they have come into contact with has coronavirus symptoms.

Before and during lessons, learners and instructors should observe basic hygiene procedures and wear face coverings unless they have a good reason not to. Instructors are expected to keep cars well ventilated and disinfect all controls and touchpoints between learners, and some may wear disposable gloves as well.