Whilst our amazing NHS works tirelessly on the frontline fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease head on, most of the rest of us are doing our part to keep the spread at bay by remaining at home with our loved ones amid new government rules, following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement to the nation. 

As well as the NHS who will continue their hard work, those who work in what is considered a key role (those who support the livelihood of our population), such as supermarkets, public safety, transport, utilities, among others, will also continue in their jobs to keep the population safe, cared for, fed and watered in line with the government's new rules and guidance for the COVID-19 response.

As a result, that does mean that those who do work in these key services and industries are required to leave their homes to travel to work, whether that be in their own vehicle, or by using public transport. Unfortunately, this does mean they are potentially exposed to the disease more than the rest of us. 

Are you a key worker driving to and from work? Or perhaps you are caring for a vulnerable person, nipping to the shops or making an essential trip to the doctors. Here’s what can you do to keep yourself and your family safe when travel is essential:

Wash your hands

You guessed it. We’ve all heard this one to death over the past few weeks and months, but the government and NHS advice makes it absolutely clear that the single most effective way to protect yourself from the coronavirus, is to wash your hands!

As a key worker travelling between home and your place of work, it’s even more crucial to ensure regular thorough hand washing using soap and warm water is carried out, especially before you enter your vehicle, before you get into your place of work, and again before you re-enter your home to best avoid transferring the virus between. Consider carrying hand sanitiser with you for the times in between or for when a sink is not around. 

Disinfect your vehicle

Research from The New England Journal of Medicine shows the virus can last up to three days on plastic and metal surfaces, meaning your vehicle is a potential hotbed. It is important to ensure surfaces you commonly touch in the vehicle are cleaned regularly as the ultimate precaution. 

In order to avoid damaging your vehicle, no bleach or other heavy disinfectants should be used. Instead, disinfectant wipes are the best bet. In the absence of wipes, watered down isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in a spray bottle and a lint free cloth to clean hard plastics and metals is also safe and proven to be effective.

Be careful when spraying near moisture-sensitive parts of the cabin such as the infotainment screen, and avoid spraying onto leather seats, instead opting for a damp cloth and a little soap, ensuring it is properly dried afterwards to avoid mold and mildew.

It is a good idea to clean anywhere in your vehicle that your hands will come into contact with, but pay particular attention to your steering wheel and gear knob / paddle shifters.  

Also don’t forget:

  • Handbrake or parking button
  • Door handles / grab handles
  • Stereo controls
  • Infotainment screens
  • Cubby holes and cup holders
  • Air-con controls and vents
  • Plastics around the centre console
  • Car keys

Keep on top of car maintenance

This one is easily overlooked, but a breakdown means unnecessary contact with a mechanic, and injuries from a crash caused from poor vehicle maintenance means more stress on our already strained NHS.

Ensuring oil, coolant and washer fluid are topped up and brakes and tyres are in roadworthy condition helps to limit the spread and helps our NHS focus their efforts on the COVID-19 crisis.

Drive with the windows down when carrying passengers

If you’re a key worker who requires vehicle sharing with another colleague or other passenger, consider driving with the windows down. Should one of you be unknowingly carrying the virus, the extra airflow could limit the chance of infecting your passenger, or them infecting you. 

Also, asking your passenger to use the rear seats rather than the front seat allows for greater distance between you both.

Consider self-isolating when home

Since you will be coming and going from your home, it might be for the best if you isolate yourself from the rest of the household when you’re home, even if you’re not showing symptoms, especially if you share the house with a vulnerable person.

Even if you don’t decide to fully self isolate from your family, it’s definitely a good idea to avoid close contact, avoid sharing food and ensure you make an extra effort to clean and disinfect surfaces you touch in shared areas such as the kitchen and bathroom after you have used them. 

During this time of crisis, Car Leasing People’s services are limited, but our home-working team are feeling positive and are willing to help where we can. If you are considering a car lease, or already have one with us, feel free to contact us here or on 0333 234 2345, our phones are still on!