Learning to Drive After the Covid-19 Pandemic

If you’ve been thinking about learning to drive, you’ve probably heard about the challenges faced by learner drivers since the pandemic. As Britain’s biggest intensive driving course specialists, we’ve been on the frontline and heard stories from both sides — learner drivers and driving instructors.

So today, we’ll deep-dive into how learning to drive in Britain has changed since a certain virus introduced us to newfangled phrases like ‘the new normal’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘next slide, please’.

The never-ending queue for driving tests

In March 2020, when Chris Whitty first popped on our screens to explain what the hell was going on, none of us could’ve predicted the utter chaos that a pandemic would cause.

To help stop the spread, the DVSA slammed shut the doors of theory and practical driving test centres. Rather than cancelling in drips and drabs, everybody with a test booked had it cancelled automatically. This caused a HUGE backlog of learners.

Pre-covid, the DVSA would usually conduct around 1.8 million practical driving tests a financial year (start of April to end of March the next year). However, coronavirus made that number fall faster than the fuel gauge on a super-charged sports car, and only 400,000 tests went ahead in the financial year 2020-2021. That means 1.1 million tests were cancelled, so demand for tests was more than twice as high once test centres eventually reopened their doors to the public.

These events snowballed and, at the time of writing this in March 2022, the DVSA is still working through the backlog with tens of thousands of hopeful drivers left in learner limbo.

Fast practical test stats:

Practical Tests Taken (Yearly)

So, we know test centres are feeling the pressure — but what about instructors? Is it still easy to get driving lessons, even if getting a test is like catching bubbles with a spade?

Finding a driving instructor in 2022

Driving tests aren’t the only thing in the industry suffering from a case of long covid. Finding an instructor with availability in 2022 is a bit like trying to find a quid you dropped under the passenger seat.

Why so difficult? With so many tests cancelled in 2020/21, driving instructors find themselves with more learners on their books than ever before. According to a study carried out by the DVSA, only 77% of instructors have returned to full-time work as an instructor after the pandemic, with many of the remaining 23% working reduced hours or leaving the industry altogether. Because of this, nearly 53% of active instructors said they were teaching more learners than usual, with the average instructor juggling 24 students at a time.

After all, people struggling to get a driving test still want lessons to keep their skills fresh. New learners are turning 17 every day, and then there’s the usual demand that has always existed.

This basically means that instructors can’t get their students passed as quickly as they could before the pandemic, which then means they can’t take new students on.

Intensive courses to the rescue?

Is it a cheetah? Is it a racing car? No, it’s a learner on an intensive driving course, skipping the DVSA queues and sitting their test in a reasonable timeframe.

Intensive course specialists, like PassMeFast, come in especially handy if you're struggling to get a licence. Our students get a theory test nice and quickly through our fast-track system.

Then, once the theory is boxed off and passed, we’ll use that same nifty fast-track system to jump the DVSA queue and bag you a practical test appointment. Once we’ve worked our magic and got you a test appointment you’re happy with, we move on to connecting you to an instructor who'll teach you to drive and pass your test.

Why book the test before the lessons? It might sound a bit backwards, but our method is tried, tested and trusted. The most important date when getting your licence isn’t when your lessons start, but when you sit your practical test. And building your lessons around the test date avoids having a big ugly gap in between your last lesson and your test — a problem that many, many learners have had to wrestle with since the pandemic began.

You wouldn’t revise 3 weeks before an exam and then do nothing until the big day. We bring that smart approach to learning into the driving world.

Book today to pass ASAP

Just a few of the learners who became qualified drivers thanks to an intensive course!

Whether you need a fast-tracked practical test on its own or a beginner’s driving course to take you from provisional to pass — PassMeFast is your faster route to driving.

Working with over 5,000 incredible instructors across Great Britain, we’ve already helped 50,000 learners get on the road since 2016. Want to join that number? Book today and be on the road ASAP!


  1. Leon@PassMeFast

    Hi Henri,

    At the time of writing, our current wait times are up to 5 months in London. If you'd like more information, give us a call on 0333 123 4949 and our friendly team will answer any questions you have.


    1 year ago

  2. Leon@PassMeFast

    Hi Michelle,

    At the time of writing, our timeframes are between 3 and 5 months depending on a few different factors such as the area you do your lessons in.

    For more accurate timescales, you can get in touch by calling us on 0333 123 4949.


    1 year ago

  3. Henri C


    I have just passed my theory test today. If I book a 10h course with you in London, when is the earliest I can pass the driving test?

    Many thanks,


    1 year ago

  4. Michelle

    I'm willing to travel anywhere in the country for the 10hr course and test. I have passed my theory, where is best to contact? I need to book annual leave ASAP, what time frame would I be looking at?

    1 year ago

  5. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Silva,

    I'm afraid that wouldn't be possible. The average length to complete a course is 3-5 months, at the moment, due to the extremely high demand for tests and instructors.

    If you were to book on today, we'd get you in for a theory test ASAP. As an estimate, I'd say we'd have your theory test completed within 3-4 weeks. Then we'd fast-track your practical test, but this process can take up to 30 days due to the lack of available tests.

    Once we've got a practical test date you're happy with and an instructor can cover it, we'd get you out for your lessons in the week or so beforehand.

    Hope that all makes sense, and sorry I couldn't give you the good news you were hoping for.



    1 year ago

  6. Silva


    I plan to book the 25hour course. Keen to month of August. I'm super dedicated, fast learner and previous experience. Will I be able to achieve theory, learning and practical exam by end of September?

    The area is Surrey. Southwest.

    Thank you

    1 year ago

  7. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Daniel,

    Have you already passed your theory test? If so, then that would be possible!

    But if you need to pass the theory then you'd probably need to make 2 trips, as it can take a little while to book a practical test and it can't be booked until the theory has been passed



    1 year ago

  8. Daniel Anderson

    I’m living abroad so would come back to the UK for the intensive course. Would I be able to take the lessons and the test all within a shortish period of time? 1-2 weeks?

    1 year ago

  9. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Athina,

    Depending on your area, we'd be looking at completing your course in 3–5 months — so you'd have a strong chance of passing before 19th December with PassMeFast!

    If you pop your postcode in our homepage, you'll find prices and an estimate of when your practical test will be. If you have any questions then give us a call on 0333 123 4949 or send them over to me in a comment, and we'll get everything sorted for you.



    1 year ago

  10. Athina L

    Hi there,
    I would like to pass my practical before December the 19th? Is this possible? I am enquiring about this as I am going abroad for a couple of months and would like to have a license by then. Thank you

    1 year ago

  11. Sam@PassMeFast

    Hi Connor,

    We'll start arranging your course as soon as you book with us. We'd be looking to get you in for the practical test within 3-5 months, depending on your area, but lessons would obviously start sooner than that.



    1 year ago

  12. Connor Gillespie

    How long is the wait to sign up

    1 year ago

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