The best way to avoid problems during this pandemic is to park your car as much as possible. Since that is not always practical, then at least be prepared, especially if you are forced to go on a trip.
When you have to run errands, it is highly recommended that you go out once a week and combine several little trips into one. That makes it easier on you in terms of decontaminating your car. It also minimizes your exposure to germs when you pick up everything you need in as few stores as possible.
- Pack sanitizing supplies to take on the road with you.
Have disinfectant supplies handy in the car so they are easy to use as often as needed. Sanitizing wipes are easier to use in the car and are recommended for car interiors. Be careful since some sanitizers with bleach in them might discolor your car surfaces.
AARP suggests packing disposable gloves, tissues, hand sanitizer, disposable bags that are sealable, and wet wipes.
- Plan trips carefully by double-checking routes.
It is important to remember that the pandemic has changed life as we know it. Many things we take for granted have changed. For example, some toll booths have closed and many restaurants are closed, or exclusively doing takeout. Trips you have taken in the past may be quite different. It is important to do your travel research before leaving town to become informed about these types of changes.
Many restaurants are closed now, so it makes sense to also call to see the best places to get takeout on your trip.
- Take special precautions in public bathrooms.
Public bathrooms are not known for being the cleanest places, even in good times. The large number of people that use them means you must be especially careful to avoid walking out the door with contaminated hands. After you wash your hands, you should try and open the bathroom door with a fresh paper towel or tissue if possible. Remember to also practice social distancing while in the bathroom.
- Sanitize your hands after pumping gas and pay with a card.
Gas pumps are very nasty, high-traffic areas that you must carefully navigate. You can use gloves or tissue to hold the pump and navigate the payment screen. You should assume that the virus is present in this type of space and act accordingly. Please pay with a card and avoid using money since it is known to be very dirty.
- When applicable, reserve hotel rooms ahead of time and verify their cleaning standards.
Some hotels are closing during the virus. Other hotels are changing the check-in procedure as a way to protect their staff and customers. To avoid a bad surprise, be sure to verify your reservation before leaving and inquire about any changes you need to know. Major hotel chains are less likely to close than smaller hotels.
- Disinfect your car based on the areas frequently touched or contaminated.
Top Driver recommends using hand sanitizer each time you get into your car. By doing this you will avoid spreading germs throughout your vehicle.
It is also a good idea to fully sanitize high-touch areas of your car on a daily basis. Surfaces that always need to be disinfected are door handles, steering wheel, gear shift, dashboards, radio dials, seatbelts, and cup holders. Business Insider also suggests cracking your car windows in between trips to air out your car.
- Drive Safely
While it is always important to drive safely at all times, it is especially important during this pandemic. Contact with others and trips to the emergency room should be avoided at all costs by taking steps to prevent car accidents. Follow local speed limits, and make sure to avoid distracted driving when you do have to get out.
Protecting yourself and your family in the car is just as important as it is in your home. Once you venture out, you must assume that you are at high-risk of picking up the virus. That’s why you must follow the tips above to avoid spreading the virus while on the road. Just remember, your risk increases when you leave home.