car safety during covid

With states gradually reopening, more and more people are getting back behind the wheeland many have resumed ridesharing. Your own car might feel safe and familiar, but it is still important to use caution and maintain a cleaning routine for shared spaces.

Wearing a face mask when driving.

According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 “is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).”

If you are driving alone or with people living with you, it’s okay to skip the mask.  If you’re carrying passengers over the age of 4 who aren’t sharing a home with you, every individual should wear a mask. You may also offer your companion the back seat for increased safety.

Cleaning and sanitizing your car.

There’s an extensive list of  EPA-approved cleaners, most recognizable being Clorox and Lysol, among others that can be used to sanitize your car. It is also a good idea to learn how to make your own sanitizing wipes in case the shortages return or if you’re on a budget. The automotive site recommends focusing on the common touch points, such as door handles, seat belts, the steering wheel, A/C controls, touchscreens, gear shifts and the dashboard. A daily wipe down is preferred, but ultimately the frequency will depend on how often you use your car.

When you need to pump gas (or charge) your car, make sure to wash or disinfect your hands before getting back inside. Gas pump handles and keypads at gas stations should be viewed with caution. If paying by credit card or phone, make sure to sanitize those as well.

Transporting groceries and packages safely.

The CDC says the following about the possibility of the virus spread through food and packages: “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like a packaging container, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging.”

If you’re using your own grocery bags, you may choose to wash them after every use, and keep them in the trunk of your car.

Using rideshare services safely.

In general, wearing a mask, and possibly gloves, when using a rideshare or taxi service should be enough to keep you safe. However, if the driver isn’t masked, turn the ride down. While in a car, don’t touch surfaces and make sure to wash or sanitize your hands once you leave. If wearing a mask isn’t possible because of a health condition, it is best to refrain from using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. The same is advised for anyone older than 60, as well as children who may not be able to avoid touching surfaces and their faces.

Another great tip is to stay on top of changing your air filters. Those are typically inexpensive and can be ordered through Amazon. They make a noticeable difference in air quality, especially if you use internal circulation a lot. You may look up how to change your air filters on YouTube.

Good hygiene habits go a long way, no matter your method of transportation. If frequent wiping isn’t possible, make sure to always have fresh masks and hand sanitizer with you, and avoid touching your face.

We all know that the best practice when it comes to driving is to protect yourself and others by driving defensively. Similarly, be defensive with masks and sanitizing when it comes to getting in a car – whether you’re the driver or the passenger.

We hope that these tips help you enjoy healthier and safer rides!



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