Road trip safety has taken on a whole new meaning over the past year. Instead of worrying solely about your driving and the maintenance of your car, we have the added consideration of protecting ourselves and loved ones from falling ill.
As the pandemic (hopefully) wanes down, you’ll likely be getting out of the house even more, whether on road trips or just driving to work. But it’s critical to remain vigilant and continue to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including while traveling in your car.
We consulted with John Paul, AAA’s Car Doctor, as well as the CDC’s guidelines, for tips on how to remain safe while you travel during the pandemic:
- Make sure your vehicle is fully sanitized. Click here for a rundown on how to the best way to get this done.
- If you haven’t been driving as much during the past 12 months, make sure your vehicle is inspected and repaired before hitting the open road.
- Even though the CDC says that COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contaminated surfaces, it is still possible. It can’t hurt to do a quick wipe down of your car’s hard interior spaces with a sanitizer. Keep sanitizing wipes in your car kit, which should also include extra gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and paper towels.
- Stopping for food, gas or even bathroom breaks can raise your risk. Wear a mask and sanitize as needed. Wash your hands often and avoid areas of possible recontamination – door pulls, faucets, etc.
- When getting fuel, wear a glove or cover your hand with a plastic bag (produce bags are good for this) and then use hand sanitizer. If you don’t have gloves, wipe down handles and buttons with disinfecting wipes before you use them and don’t forget to wipe down your credit/debit card. Hand sanitizer bottles fit nicely in cup holders.
- Carry a portable air compressor in your vehicle rather than relying on a public air pump.
- The most common AAA roadside assistance requests are for flat tires, dead batteries and keys locked in the car. Before taking a summer road trip, have the tires inspected, the battery and electrical system tested, and carry a spare key.
Now is the perfect time to get your tires checked. April is Car Care Month, and all AAA members can receive a free wheels-off brake inspection, suspension system inspection, tire check and (if needed) tire rotation at any Approved Auto Repair facility all month long.
Should you need a tire and wheel repair, AAA’s Tire and Wheel Program has you covered, offering unlimited repair or replacement for tires and/or wheels due to impact with road hazards. It also covers the replacement of lost keys or key fobs.
Have any more automotive questions? Leave them in the comments below and get a personal response from AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul.