Car sharing is a common practice for people who want to minimise the cost, hassle and emissions involved in getting to and from work. However, with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions advising no contact with people from other households, there are several questions raised about whether it’s still an option.
In this post, we’ll discuss the rules around car sharing and how to make it as safe as possible.
Is car sharing allowed?
First and foremost, car sharing is still allowed during the current COVID-19 restrictions depending on the tier you’re in and why you’re sharing a car. In tier 1 areas, the government recommends avoiding car sharing with anyone outside your household or support bubble wherever possible, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
However, in tier 2 and tier 3 areas which make up the majority of England, car sharing is not permitted with people outside your household or support bubble unless there is an exempt reason. Fortunately, this includes car sharing “for work or providing voluntary or charitable services.”
Gov.uk highlights car sharing being “reasonably necessary as part of your work”, as an example of an exempt reason. In other words, if it’s unreasonable to walk or cycle to work, or work from home – and car sharing would avoid crowded public transport – then it’s reasonable to share a car as long as you take precautions.
All that said, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t share a car for any reason, in any tier, if you’re self-isolating after a positive test or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms without having tested negative.
COVID car sharing precautions
If you have a valid reason for car sharing, the Government has highlighted a number of measures you can take to minimise the risk of transmission while travelling.
Share with the same people
Firstly, if you need to share for work or another reasonable purpose, try to share with the same people each time. This will reduce the number of people you’re mixing with and minimise the chance of being exposed to the virus.
Cover your face
You should also wear a face covering whenever possible. Respiratory droplets are the most common way the virus is spread, and face coverings are a simple and effective way to stop them spreading when you speak, shout, sing, cough or sneeze. Needless to say, you should avoid shouting or singing when car sharing too.
Keep the car ventilated
When travelling, you should keep the car windows open and face away from each other. This will keep the space well ventilated, allowing any airborne infection to escape the vehicle. Facing away from each other simply means any respiratory droplets will have a harder time moving from person to person.
Once you’re inside the car, avoid touching things wherever possible. You should also avoid touching any other people unless they are in your support bubble. With that in mind, it’s best to minimise the number of people in a car when sharing, so they can still maintain a decent distance. Having someone in the driving seat and a passenger in the back, left passenger seat will keep them as distanced as possible.
Wash your hands
Using your hands is unavoidable when car sharing. You’ll need to open the door and put on your seatbelt as a minimum. This is why washing your hands is still very important. You should wash your hands using the 20 second guidance before and after every journey.
Clean the car
If it’s your car being used for journeys, make sure you clean it after every use. You’ll need to use an effective household disinfectant and a clean cloth, making sure you clean key areas such as:
- Door handles – inside and outside
- Wheel and dashboard
- Seats and everything around them including seat belts
- All storage areas like the glove box, central storage compartment and cupholders
Plan your route
As well as the COVID car sharing advice above, the general rules for travelling during the pandemic still apply. This includes planning your route to avoid any disruption when travelling.
Road works, road closures, accidents and stand-still traffic will all lengthen the time you’re sharing a car with someone outside your household or support bubble. By planning ahead, you may be able to avoid these with an alternative route and minimise the journey’s duration.
You should also avoid making stops wherever possible, driving directly to and from the destination like your workplace.
What about breakdowns?
With any car journey comes the risk of a breakdown. If this happens while you’re car sharing, it’s important that you don’t compromise the precautions you’ve already taken. While it may be tempting during something as stressful as a breakdown, try to avoid close contact with other passengers.
By this point, mechanics and break-down teams are all well-versed on social distancing and COVID-safety. However, it’s also important that you act safely to protect them. Keep some hand sanitiser in your car so you can wash your hands before and after they’ve been.
You should also wear a mask while interacting with them. Many drivers won’t feel comfortable or safe driving with a mask – because of glasses steaming up, for example. But this highlights why it’s important to still have one on hand in your glove compartment.
Car sharing made easier
When you’re car sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll want to avoid delays, hiccups and breakdowns more than ever before. If you’re worried your car isn’t up to scratch, social distancing isn’t standing in your way of a replacement.
At My Car Credit, we draw upon a panel of 27 trusted lenders to find you a great car finance deal without the need for face-to-face meetings. Our online application process is quick, easy and completely remote, so you can still upgrade your car during the pandemic.
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Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!