26 August 2020 18:43
After refreshing my browser countless times to eventually receive the dreaded '504 Gateway Error' message, my IP address was blocked by the website, leaving me stranded. "I'm not a hacker, I promise," cried a fellow disgruntled learner driver on Twitter. "I just want to book a simple test!" A sentence to which I can relate wholeheartedly. But is anyone surprised that the DVSA website crashed after months of suspension? It was reported that seven million people visited the site in 12 hours, leaving the agency no choice but to take the service offline until 8am on Wednesday (today), so that 'essential maintenance' could be carried out to help it cope.
After three nail-biting days, the solution? An epic queuing system. So we're all here again, waiting hopelessly. Think waiting in line for Glastonbury tickets, only even more frustrating. Of course, everyone, eventually, will manage to book a test in the next year (fingers crossed). Personally, I'm still holding out, with bated breath, for a spot before Christmas. In the absence of other events to look forward to, that really would be something; a monumental date for a largely empty diary. Experienced drivers who can't understand what the fuss is all about (why the rush?) should remember the ways in which we're all desperate to grab onto some normality. In mid-March, I watched my hard-working housemate go from sparkling graduate to unemployed, followed soon afterwards by many of my friends in their twenties. Restaurants and pubs closed. Staff were laid off in their thousands. To be able to drive a car, legally and without supervision, might not seem like a big deal, but it's a way to finally gain some independence after months of strict restriction. And now, here we are, potentially mere hours away from the next step on the road to freedom. Unless the whole damned thing crashes again.