Driving tips that are useful during a pandemic
As we dust off our cars to return to work and to the school run, we continue to live through a ‘new normal’ that has changed every aspect of our lives, driving included. In this article, we explore some tips that will be useful during the on-going pandemic (and may also be useful after.)
Keep masks and hand sanitiser in your car
Keys, phone, wallet, mask; a new addition to the list of things we must remember when running out of the door. However, it’s only natural that once or twice we may find ourselves halfway to work or about to walk into the supermarket and realise we’ve left our mask at home. In order to overcome this, we suggest keeping a back-up supply of masks in your car at all times. This way, even if you do leave the house without one by mistake, you’re covered.
Equally, keeping a bottle or two of hand sanitiser in the glove box or centre console will mean that should you need it, it will be there. Adapting to remember these things every time we leave the house can be hard, but knowing that you’ve got supplies in your car means that even if you need to pop somewhere in a hurry, you’ll be fine.
Emma, from Happy Family Hub, told us the supplies she keeps in her car to help during this time: “I ensure that we have a bottle of water in the car, some soap in a washbag and a sports towel so we can wash and dry our hands wherever we may be. We also make sure we have plenty of bottles of sanitiser (in every bag) and also keep a big bag of disposable gloves in the car in case we need them!"
Only fill-up on the way home
There are certain touchpoints in our lives that are unavoidable, one of them being fuel pumps. Although we can take precautions like wearing a mask and gloves, it is wise to try and schedule in your fuelling sessions to ensure you only fill-up on the way home. This way, you know that the next thing you’ll be doing is walking in your door and washing your hands. It’s a small tip, but with a little forethought, you don’t need to spend a day worrying whether you did a vigilant enough job with the hand sanitiser in the car.
For an even better touch-free experience, Karen from Little Beauty Blog has this top insight: “I would recommend downloading the Shell Fill up and Go app. As you can use this app to pay for your fuel without having to either touch the pump keypad or enter the forecourt shop you can much reduce your contact with people during a pandemic. You select the garage you are in, put in the pump number and then authorise payment. Once you then fill up with fuel, the payment amount is added to your account on the app and you can drive away. You still have to touch the fuel pump of course, but any way to reduce the number of surfaces such as doors, payment keypads etc. you touch is definitely a plus.”
Check road works and parking restrictions
Over the lockdown period, there have been a lot of changes. For one, many parking restrictions have either been lifted or amended and so it’s wise to check the parking restrictions you may face before travelling. Even if it’s a place where you’ve parked every day for years, keeping yourself in the know about whether there have been any amendments can save you a pretty penny.
Abbey Louisa Rose explains: “Check if parking rules have changed in your area. During the lockdown, my local council suspended the enforcement of parking fines to help those who were self-isolating or working from home to park close to their houses. In some residential zones, you won't be given a ticket if you are parked on double yellow lines. But do make sure to check your council's rules before you chance it - you don't want to end up with a pricey fine!”
Equally, people are seeing scheduled road works take longer than expected and as such, it’s even more vital now to check the road works in your area to know what’s out there. During such a turbulent time, the last thing you want is long delays when you are trying to get home to your family.
Bear toilet stops in mind
When taking long journeys with little ones, toilet stops are often inevitable. However, during current circumstances, it’s certainly worth trying to avoid toilet stops as much as possible, as these will end with you having to visit incredibly communal spaces and areas where many people go through a day.
Mairead from The Sickly Mamma explains: “Plan your stops carefully - especially toilet breaks for a long journey! If you can avoid having to stop to use the loo, it's definitely preferable. I've avoided drinking in the hour before setting off on longer journeys, and used the toilet right before leaving home, which has fortunately been enough for me to avoid service station toilets so far.”
Emma from Happy Family Hub has a top tip for those who have little ones and want to avoid toilets and service stations as much as possible: “When travelling with a child and I don't want them using a public toilet en-route, I take a portable potty with me. This ensures we don't have to use any crowded service stations.”
Remember, you may be out of practice
For people who have been working from home, your driving time may be down and you may be a little bit out of practice. Remembering this before you take off, especially on a longer journey, is important and allowing yourself the extra time you may need to get to your destination. Equally, you should be aware that others are also in the same boat as you so being extra vigilant whilst observing others driving is also a must.
Mairead explains that this is the case for her: “I've certainly found I've driven a lot less since lockdown, and when I do get back behind the wheel, I try to bear in mind that I might be rustier than I think. It's good to do occasional short local trips just to ensure you keep your driving skills up, especially before embarking on any long-distance journeys. Similarly, remember that other drivers may also not be up to their usual standard, and exercise a bit of extra caution on roundabouts, pulling out at junctions, and so on.”
As well as you, a car that has sat stationary for long periods of time may be prone to some technical issues. So, for you and the sake of your vehicle, taking one or two short trips a week to keep the engine turned over and your driving skills up-to-scratch is a wise idea.
Keep your car as clean as possible
Keeping our cars clean has always been more of an aesthetic choice than a health one, but now more than ever, trying to keep the interior and exterior of our vehicles clean is important. There are plenty of touchpoints on our cars (door handles, steering wheel, gear stick, radio dials etc.) that we use every day and although we can be as thorough as possible with keeping ourselves clean, it is wise to also try to keep our cars clean too. Invest in some cleaning products to keep in your car and try and wipe down surfaces as often as possible, especially if you have to drive people outside of your immediate bubble somewhere.
Whilst driving, there are some precautions you can take to also try and keep the car cleaner. Jupiter Hadley recommends people “keep the windows open a bit in the car, if you have other passengers, to maintain circulation.”
Driving tips that are useful during a pandemic:
- Keep masks and hand sanitiser in your car
- Only fill-up on the way home
- Check road works and parking restrictions
- Bear toilet stops in mind
- Remember, you may be out of practice
- Keep your car as clean as possible
With these tips, you’ll be better equipped to drive during the pandemic, and who knows, some of them may even come in handy after! And, if you are looking for a new vehicle, our range of Ford second hand cars is second-to-none and you can be behind the wheel before you know it.
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