What to do with your mask in the car

Shutterstock.com/ Miguel Angel Partido

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At Drive Facts, we love to discuss some incredible car models, car racing, and even some tips and tricks to help look after and drive your car. One thing we never thought that we would need to advise on was the best way to wear a mask while in your car and how to lower the risk of contamination, yet that is the world we live in today. The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact many countries around the world and although lockdowns are easing a large number of populations are now trying to come to terms with life behind a mask. Follow our tips on driving with a mask.

Public transport options have greatly reduced during the pandemic. Flights have pretty much stopped and the number of people who can use and who actually trust public transport is far lower than before the coronavirus hit. This means that many people are using their cars more than ever before. It is a smart idea and although the impact on the environment is not ideal, it may be the best solution in these trying times.

If you are driving with passengers that you don’t live or “share a bubble” with then it is important to continue wearing your mask while driving and that they wear one too. Of course, you should follow any local guidance as to whether you are actually allowed to have others in your car at all. The car is a confined space and therefore the risk of contamination is high.

To reduce the risk of infection it is best not to use any air conditioning and to have the windows open at least three inches. This will allow any contaminants to leave the car instead of building up. You should always carry some alcohol gel that is at least 70% strength so that people can apply when inside the car.

If you are driving alone it makes perfect sense to take off your mask for comfort sake and you should feel free to do this. However, you should still be careful in how you take off your mask and where you put it to avoid increasing the risk of spreading a virus. The best option is to take it off by touching the parts over the ears, then fold it so that the part that was facing your mouth is folded upon itself. This ensures that the bacteria you were breathing stays on one side of the mask. Then simply leave the mask on the car seat beside you or preferably in a paper bag.

We have seen a large number of people hanging their masks from their rearview mirror. In theory, this makes some sense as it is free hanging so nothing is touching the mask. However, experts have advised against it. If you are using air conditioning or even have the windows open air will flow from the front of the car to the back. The air will pass through your mask and spread any bacteria particles around the car. Hanging your mask on the rearview mirror is, therefore, a very bad idea.

Car ride services have rolled out a number of rules in various markets with most now advising drivers that they must wear a mask, must offer alcohol, and must have the windows down at all times. These are great rules to follow if you are driving people around and are important items to be aware of if using the service. 

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The car is a great mode of transport during these strange times but we still must be cautious that we are doing our best not to spread any contaminants. If everyone works together we can reduce the risk of spread and save lives.