With the easing of lockdown measures, many are considering taking to the road. Travel restrictions have been lifted in England and Wales, while Scotland has removed the five-mile travel limit.
It’s a tentative step forward. The government’s ‘Stay alert, Control the virus, Save lives‘ message remains in place, and you should not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
There is specific guidance for private cars and other vehicles. This guidance can be split into four categories: plan your journey, car sharing, on your journey and completing your journey. These are summarised as follows:
- Plan your journey
- Plan your route, including any breaks, before setting off
- Check that your vehicle is roadworthy. This is especially important if you haven’t used it for several weeks
- People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle
- You should wear a face mask in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible
- Make a list of items to take with you
- Only travel into, out of and within areas under local lockdown if essential
- Car sharing
- Avoid car sharing with people from other households or support bubbles
- Share transport with the same people each time
- Open windows for ventilation
- Travel side by side or behind people
- Face away from each other
- Consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
- Clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products
- Ask the driver and passengers to wear a face mask
- On your journey
- Expect more pedestrians and cyclists, especially at peak times
- Limit the time you spent a garages, petrol stations and motorway services. Use contactless for payments
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands often
- Completing your journey
- Wash your hands or sanitise your hands again
‘Open up the windows’
As has been widely reported, the coronavirus isn’t just spread via coughs and sneezes. Even talking and breathing has the potential to spread the virus, especially in a confined space. This is a potential problem in a car.
As this USA Today article explains, a car’s cabin is cocooned from the outside world. Every gap has been sealed to improve the sound installation and to reduce the amount of wind and road noise entering the cabin. The ventilation rate is quite low.
“When the windows are closed, SARS-CoV-2 (in fine aerosol particles) accumulates in the car cabin,” it says.
”With each new cough, the concentration builds up with no significant dilution happening. But even cracking one window open just three inches can keep this at bay.
“So the next time you’re in the car — be it your own vehicle with others or in a taxi, Uber or Lyft — it’s all the same advice: Open up the windows just a bit, even if everyone is feeling fine.”
Neutralise coronavirus in seven minutes
You should also consider using a spray designed to neutralise the coronavirus. The disinfectant, which costs £9.99, breaks down and kills coronavirus. It’s distributed throughout the vehicle via the ventilation system, with the active ingredient spread across all surfaces.
The aptly-named CV1 Shot comes in a one shot canister which should be placed in the passenger footwell. With the ventilation system on full and the doors shut, the job is complete in just seven minutes. After this, the doors should be opened for five minutes to fully ventilate the cabin.
Helen Robinson at Euro Car Parts, said: “As many people will be spending more and more time on the roads over the next few weeks, we are pleased to offer a product that will help eliminate the transmission of the virus within our vehicles.
“Returning to the roads will be daunting for many, but hopefully, the CV1 Shot helps to provide some reassurance that our cars can be safe places.”