It's easy to want to get away during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being cooped up in the house for months is nothing anyone could have been prepared for.
Although leaving the house and gathering in large groups is not recommended by the CDC or World Health Organization, getting some outside time and enjoying the open road in the comfort and isolation of your own vehicle is safe for you and for others. Here are some ways to make your trip extra safe so you can reach your destination happy and healthy.
1. To Mask or Not to Mask?
It's not essential to wear a mask while driving alone in your car, but it is essential to keep yourself and your passengers safe from COVID-19. If you are traveling with someone you have not been in close contact with during quarantine (not recommended), please wear a mask at all times. Social distancing cannot be adhered to in most vehicles, so choose your driving companions wisely. Always wear a mask when exiting your vehicle, whether it's to get gas, stop for snacks, or stretch your legs. Safety and sanitization are essential for road trips during this time.
2. Maintain Your Vehicle
Has your commute disappeared due to COVID-19? Are you working from home in perpetuity? It's ideal to take your vehicle in for a check-up before any road trip, but this visit is even more necessary when your car's been un-driven for periods of time.
According to the Car Care Council, if your vehicle sits for too long, the battery can die, oil can leak and deteriorate, certain parts may rust, and depending on the climate, more cosmetic consequences can occur. Maintaining your vehicle is easy with our guide. Review our list of things you can do if your car breaks down to be extra prepared for any situation.
3. Continue Safe Driving Habits
Despite there being potentially fewer cars on the road during COVID-19, the National Security Council notes that roads have been more lethal. There was a 37% increase in fatalities per miles driven in April 2020 compared to April 2019, a signal that safe driving is more essential than ever. Bear in mind that many people who are working from home have not driven as regularly, so they could be a bit rusty when heading out on the road.
Things like driving on the right side of the road, not exceeding the speed limit, and using your blinker are of course common sense, but you never know what you'll forget if you stop driving for too long. Brush up on defensive driving strategies, driving in emergency situations, and while you're there brush up on "right of way" etiquette.
4. Beware of Impaired Drivers and Don't Be One
According to KKTV in Colorado, DUI numbers are surprisingly high in the state despite the pandemic. Alcohol- and marijuana-related crashes have risen 32% from the previous year, and the number of fatal DUI crashes has doubled. Luckily, other cities have seen decreases in DUI crashes and deaths, but you can never be too careful.
You also put everyone on the road at risk when you engage in driving impaired. Even if you are responsible on the road, others may not be. That's where your knowledge of DUI laws, state law, and driving fundamentals are not only useful but can be life-saving.
5. Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
Your hands touch everything including faucets, food, clothing, other people, and of course, your steering wheel. Did you know that steering wheels hold four times as much bacteria as toilet seats? Keep some sanitizing wipes in your car at all times. If you exit your vehicle to pump gas or run into a convenience store, it is paramount you use the wipe before and after each action on things like your steering wheel, clutch, and cup holders. Helpful tip: sanitize in, sanitize out.
If you want to be completely prepared for anything driving throws your way, just visit Aceable and search to your heart's content. We can teach you everything you need to know and also offer driving courses that are state-accredited and entirely online.