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How to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Your Vehicle

Whenever you leave your house, you run the risk of spreading the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Even if you have no symptoms, you could be a carrier, and anytime you come into contact with outside surfaces or other people, you could be exposed to the virus.

As the liaison between our homes and the outside world, our cars are a site where the virus can spread, especially when we use rideshares, rental cars, or public transportation.

For our last Tips Tuesday blog, we have some advice that can reduce the risk of COVID-19 in your car.

Tip #1: Know How COVID-19 Spreads

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which should be your #1 resource for information about coronavirus in the United States, COVID-19 is spread primarily from person to person. The disease is largely transmitted from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths and/or noses of nearby people or be inhaled into their lungs.

People can also get COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. Fortunately, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Tip #2: Wash Your Hands

You should always wash your hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. Wash up after caring for people or pets, as well. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also helpful to wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose – and each time you leave or enter a new environment.

When you drive, wash your hands before you get in the vehicle and after you get out. If you go into a store, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content in between trips.

Washing your hands and avoiding close contact with people are the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19, no matter where you are.

Tip #3: Minimize Passengers

With stay-at-home orders in effect across the United States, many people have very few reasons to leave their houses. If you do need to go out, go alone if possible. The fewer people in your vehicle, the lower the introduction of new germs, and the less likely the virus is to spread.

Try to avoid transporting children and people over the age of 60 in the same vehicle. Children are often unsuspecting carriers of infection, and the elderly have the most severe risk of complications and death with COVID-19.

Tip #4: Sanitize Common Vehicle Touchpoints

The CDC recommends cleaning the surfaces you touch daily. In cars, this typically means:

  • Door handles
  • Key fobs
  • Steering wheels
  • Inside door buttons
  • Seatbelts
  • Gear shifters
  • Touchscreens

A professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona also encourages drivers to pay special attention to their dashboards. He told Edmunds:

[The dashboard is] the worst site in terms of total number of bacteria. Air is constantly being sucked over and circulated inside the car."

When you clean, use a cleaner that is approved for the fight against COVID-19 and be mindful – some of the harsher disinfectants can damage the interior of your vehicle. We recommend keeping disinfectant wipes in your car or even using a gentle soap and water solution to clean leather.

Tip #5: Avoid Sharing If Possible

If you do not need to use a rideshare app or public transportation, avoid these methods of getting around for now. If you do need these options, never ride when you are sick and carry hand sanitizer with you. Keep 3 to 6 feet of distance between you and other passengers on social transit and wipe down the surfaces you touch if you are able.

Further, if you need to rent a car, wipe down common touchpoints before and after you get behind the wheel, wash your hands frequently, and be extra careful with any vehicle that hosts multiple people.

Final Thoughts

Practicing good hygiene inside and outside of your vehicle is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We also encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and adhere to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order in Michigan.

Check out our other Tips Tuesday entries for advice on what you can and cannot do when it comes to automobiles:

As always, the most significant risk when you get behind the wheel of a car is car accidents.

If you are injured in a car crash, contact Goodman Acker P.C. for legal help. You can reach us at (248) 793-2010 or schedule a free consultation online.