As COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily life around the world, individuals are having to remain diligent about keeping themselves and their communities safe. As cities continue to open up and various activities are beginning to resume, you may find yourself starting to drive more or have other passengers in your car.
If this is the case, read on to learn the five ways you can enhance your car safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Take the necessary hygiene steps
Cleaning and sanitising your car after every use is crucial during the pandemic as it is the most effective way to keep your car-germ free. Each time you go for a drive, make sure you wipe down all the surfaces that you touch, from the steering wheel to the door handles, from the gear shift to the stereo system.
Additionally, your seatbelt, window controls, armrests, and cup holders should all be regularly cleaned as these are high-contact spots. You must also remember to wipe down your key fob with a sanitising wipe or spray every time you use it.
To clean the hard surfaces of your car’s interior, use a soft or microfibre cloth. Dampen the cloth with soap and water and then use an additional clean, dry cloth to dry the surfaces. Most surfaces can also be cleaned with an isopropyl alcohol solution. If you opt to use this kind of solution, make sure it is at least 70% alcohol.
For your infotainment screen, avoid using aggressive cleaners and instead opt for a screen wipe to ensure that you don’t damage it. Storing the necessary cleaning supplies in your car is a great way to ensure that you always have what you need to keep your vehicle sanitised. Make sure, however, to thoroughly check the storage and safety instructions on each product as items like sanitisers could explode when left inside a hot vehicle.
2. Keep the air circulating
It is impossible to social distance while in a car; therefore, you need to prioritise keeping the air circulating. The best way to do this is by opening the windows as much as possible. Bringing in fresh outside air is an effective way to decrease the risk of transmission while you are driving – no matter who is in your vehicle.
It is recommended that you avoid using the vehicle’s recirculated-air setting as an active COVID-19 virus could contaminate the system and spread the disease around the car. Instead, open up the windows (even just a crack) to dilute the concentration of any potential virus particles in the vehicle. And you always want to ask passengers to wear a mask (same as drivers) when you are ride-sharing.
3. Download a fuel delivery app
Pumping your petrol at the petrol station increases your risk of being exposed to the coronavirus as all surfaces can potentially have COVID-19 droplets. If you have no choice but to visit the petrol station, make sure you are wearing protective gloves and that you use a disinfectant to sanitise the pump and handle.
The safest way to fill your vehicle up with gas is to utilise a fuel delivery service such as CAFU – the Middle East’s first on-demand fuel delivery service. By opting to use a service such as this, you will never again have to visit a petrol station as the fuel will be delivered right to you. You can schedule a delivery for whenever and wherever is most convenient for you. All you have to do is download the app, register your vehicle, input your payment method, pin your location, and select your delivery time slot, and the CAFU team will take it from there.
As you pay through the app, you can be assured that it is a no-touch and no-contact service, making it safe and secure. What’s more, the service offers fuel at the same price as at the petrol station and doesn’t charge a delivery fee. In other words, petrol delivery in the UAE can keep you and your vehicle safe for the same cost as going to the petrol station.
4. Stay on top of your routine services and repairs
Even in the middle of a pandemic, you need to be able to depend on your vehicle. This requires you to stay on top of your routine services and repairs. Many of these routine services (such as checking fluids and inspecting tyres) can be done at home; however, others may require you to visit a repair shop.
Professionals can do oil changes and other light maintenance while you wait in the car. Similarly, most tyre stores can easily accommodate replacing tyres and more significant repairs while maintaining social distancing measures.
Keep in mind that cars need to be driven, so even if you aren’t commuting to work each day, you still want to drive your vehicle at least once a week for 30 minutes. Otherwise, you increase the likelihood of your battery losing charge, tyres obtaining flat spots, and critters making themselves at home in your engine.
5. Always wash your hands
In addition to social distancing, the most effective way to reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19 is to wash your hands regularly. The current guidelines are to wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. This is especially important after being in a public place or touching surfaces (such as those in your car). If you don’t have immediate access to soap and water, you can use a hand sanitiser with (minimum) 60% alcohol content.
Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately throw it away when done. If you don’t have one, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
Moreover, you also want to avoid close contact with those who have COVID-19 and practise social distancing by remaining six feet away from others when out in public. Whenever you are outside your home, wear a cloth face mask to protect other people in case you have the virus.
What steps are you taking to enhance your car safety during COVID-19? Are you following the above strategies, or do you have others to add to the list? Let us know your thoughts and any other relevant insights in the comments below!
Antonio Al Asmar is the General Manager at CAFU, the UAE’s first fuel delivery application bringing value to cities and communities by making refuelling cars more accessible. CAFU is an “on-demand” contactless fuel delivery service that will fill up your vehicle with petrol or diesel while you’re at home, work, or play for the same price as the petrol station, with no delivery fees.