Coronavirus particles can build up in your car, even on short drives. These particles can stay in your car for up to three hours. When driving with others, the best thing to do is to have your windows down to protect yourself from COVID-19.
However, many safety-conscious drivers will find this hard to do. They may feel like they have a choice between protecting themselves from the coronavirus or protecting themselves from potential thefts and hijackings.
The balance would then be to drive with your windows down when you are on the open road or when there is a good distance between stops and traffic lights.
How Does Open Windows Help?
Airflow patterns inside a vehicle and how these patterns influence the transmission of the virus between a driver and passenger was the subject of a new study published in Science Advances. The study found that opening windows increases airflow and will decrease the chances of transmission, which comes as no surprise. It is then best to have all your windows open, but just having one window open will positively impact airflow.
It is best to have two windows open and the best air circulation is achieved by opening opposite windows and not the two windows closest to the driver and passenger.
Important COVID-19 Safety Factors to Consider
You should avoid riding in a vehicle with anyone that is not part of your family or who share a living space with you. In South Africa, this is not easy as only a third of the country’s households own a car. Many South Africans will rely on public transport, taxis, lift clubs, carpools and Uber to get to and from work. In these situations, you must wear your mask and sanitise your hands before getting in the vehicle and when you exit.
Vehicle owners believe that their car is a safe space away from the virus and is one place where they don’t need to wear their mask, however, you still need to be cautious especially after visiting shopping centres etc and sanitise your hands before you get in your vehicle.
With the high risk associated with public areas, restaurants, shops etc, many drivers are rediscovering the joys of just going for a drive. You must keep your car clean and stay close to home.
Whilst on the road enjoying your drive, stay alert and practice defensive driving techniques. Put your cell phone now, wear your seat belt and stick to the speed limit. Our hospitals are full and you need to do your best to avoid a car accident, so you don’t add an extra burden to the health system.
It is still best to stay home and stay safe.