Guidance from the CDC states that all frequently touched surfaces should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. While "cleaning" refers to the removal of germs from a surface, "disinfecting" refers to using chemicals to actively kill germs, including bacteria and viruses, lurking on the surface. Dirty surfaces should be cleaned first using soap and water followed by disinfecting with an EPA-approved product. A complete list of effective disinfecting products can be found on the CDC's website, but most common household disinfectants should be adequate.
Drivers should wash and sanitize any frequently touched surfaces in and around your vehicle. This includes:
- Car keys and fobs
- Door handles
- Steering wheels
- Gear shift knobs
- Radio, GPS, and buttons/dials
- Seat belts and car seats
- Cell phones
- Purses or diaper bags
- Travel cups and holders
Drivers should also be cognizant of every surface they encounter while out on the road and plan accordingly. Ensure you have hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, or other means to minimize your exposure to these surfaces:
- Gas pumps and keypads
- Public charging stations
- Parking meters
- Toll booths
- Drive through ATMs and other touch screens
- Pens at drive-through banks, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.
- Shopping carts
- Door handles
It is with this mindset that we should prepare any time we need to leave the safety of our homes over the coming weeks. Remain cognizant of the surfaces you come into contact with, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and keep your hands away from your face at all times.
If possible, rideshares, taxis, and public transit should be avoided, but if they can't be, below are some steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Touchless payment or credit cards will be safer than using cash; however, special attention should be paid to any pay stations or keypads you touch to complete purchases
- Make all attempts to distance yourself from other passengers keeping at least 6 feet away
- Bring sanitizing wipes with you, wiping down any seat belts, and door handles, armrests, etc.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds following any form of transportation
Of course, staying indoors and at home away from other people (social distancing) is going to be your best bet to avoid Covid-19 as well as spreading it to others. We know that you won't be able to do this indefinitely, so please stay aware, stay vigilant, and exercise an abundance of caution when it comes to touching surfaces in and out of your vehicle. Finally, make a habit of visiting CDC.gov regularly for the latest details on this unfolding story.