How to make sharing a car safer during the pandemic
If you had to design an enclosed, virus-friendly air space, you might imagine something that looks a lot like your car – compact, high-touch surfaces and almost no way to social distance.
Still, most of us occasionally must share a ride with someone who lives outside our immediate household. When that happens, whether you're catching an Uber or driving your neighbor to her doctor appointment, you can take these steps to reduce the chance of virus transmission:
- Limit the number of passengers.
- Insist everyone in the car wear a mask.
- Sit as far apart as possible (e.g., driver and rear-seat passenger side).
- Combine trips to minimize the amount of time spent in the car.
- Set the car's airflow to fresh rather than recirculate.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces, including the dashboard, since airborne particles can settle there. (Be sure to use cleaning agents that are safe for surfaces.)
- Wash your hands thoroughly once the ride is over.
There's also a simple trick to maximize fresh air in your car. Weather permitting, opening all the windows is best. But if not, researchers from Brown University say opening the windows opposite occupants (for example, front passenger window, rear window behind the driver) does an even better job of flushing airborne particles out of the car than opening the window right beside you. Check out this video from ABC News.
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