7 Mistakes You’re Making Every Time You Get in Your Car

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<p>Even though we’re all doing far less these days amid the coronavirus pandemic, everyone is at least taking the <span class=”s1″>occasional journey out of the house to pick up groceries, medication, or supplies. And that means, in many cases, getting in and out of your car. While you probably never thought twice about opening your car door, adjusting your mirrors, and buckling your seatbelt previously, these days, you have to be aware of<em> everything</em> you touch. And chances are high, you’re making some <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/worst-coronavirus-mistakes/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>mistakes in the age of the coronavirus</a>.</span></p>
<p>”COVID-19 has created significant changes in our daily lives. Even simple things, like <a href=”https://www.ehe.health/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>driving to the store</a>, need to be done differently now than you did just a few months ago,” <span class=”s3″>says <strong>Seema Sarin</strong>, MD, director of lifestyle medicine at <span class=”s4″>EHE Health. <span class=”s1″>But how can you mitigate your risk when getting behind the wheel? We consulted medical experts to help you avoid making these dangerous mistakes every time you get into your car. And for more mistakes to be aware of, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/coronavirus-mistakes/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>7 Coronavirus Mistakes You’re Making That Would Horrify Your Doctor</a>.</span></span></span></p>
<p><span class=”s2″> <div class=”number-head-mod number-head-mod-standalone”>
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<div class=”number”>1</div>
<div class=”title”>You’re removing your face mask.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-231365″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/remove-mask.jpg?resize=1200%2C800&ssl=1″ alt=”Mature woman removing her protective mask once in the car” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Wearing <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/face-mask-wearing-mistakes/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>face masks</a> on outings has become routine since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended them to help prevent infecting others. Unfortunately though, many who are new to using them aren’t aware of how they’re putting themselves at risk in the process.</p>
<p>”When you get in your car, you are <a href=”http://drsavinglives.com/about-geoffrey-mount-varner/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>brining germs in and out of it</a> from every place you’ve stepped into and from every surface you’ve touched,” says emergency physician <strong>Geoffrey Mount Varner</strong>, MD, MPH. And that includes your face mask. “If you can help it, <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/face-mask-mistakes-coronavirus/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>keep your mask on in the car</a>,” Varner says. “But if you must remove it before you get home, have a container to keep it in so that it does not touch your car’s interior.” If your mask does come into contact with any surfaces in your car, be sure to sanitize them immediately. And for more mask mandates to know about, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/face-masks-required/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>7 States Where You’re Breaking the Law if You Don’t Wear a Face Mask</a>.</p>
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<div class=”number”>2</div>
<div class=”title”>You’re keeping your contaminated gloves on.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone wp-image-226470 size-full” src=”https://i0.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/wearing-gloves-driving-car.jpg?resize=1200%2C800&ssl=1″ alt=”hands in blue gloves holding steering wheel” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Just because your hands are covered doesn’t mean you can’t track harmful germs back into your car. “If you choose to wear gloves, please discard them before getting back into your vehicle,” says paramedic <strong>Mike Gnitecki</strong>. “I see people get <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/gloves-coronavirus/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>back into their car with their gloves still on</a>, which entirely defeats the purpose of using them in the first place.” And as with any other personal protective equipment (PPE), remember to dispose of your gloves properly in trash bins, not on the floor of your vehicle or—even worse—as litter in the parking lot.</p>
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<div class=”number”>3</div>
<div class=”title”>You’re not using hand sanitizer.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-231366″ src=”https://i2.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/sanitizer-car.jpg?resize=1200%2C800&ssl=1″ alt=”Man using hand sanitizer while sitting in car” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>After you do remove your gloves, it’s important that you take things one step further and disinfect your hands to be cautious. <span class=”s2″>Even though regular thorough hand-washing has been a top recommendation by medical professionals throughout the pandemic, getting into your car can present a tricky situation when you’re leaving a supermarket without easy access to running hot water and soap. </span></p>
<p>If you can’t wash your hands at a sink immediately before entering your vehicle—which is likely the case—the next best thing is to make sure you <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/downsides-of-hand-sanitizer/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>have hand sanitizer waiting for you</a>. “Not washing your hands with soap and water, wipes, alcohol sanitizer, or alcohol wipes prior to <a href=”http://www.ellehcalobgyn.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>touching anything in your car</a> has to be the number one mistake,” says <strong>Enchanta Jenkins</strong>, MD, MHA.</p>
<p>Make it a habit to sanitize your hands even after quick trips out of your car, especially after gas fill-ups and picking up takeout food. And for more items you’ll want to avoid touching, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/never-touch-again/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>7 Things You’ll Never Want to Touch Again After the Coronavirus</a>.</p>
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<div class=”number”>4</div>
<div class=”title”>You’re not sanitizing your steering wheel and other high-touch surfaces.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone wp-image-220815 size-full” src=”https://i2.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/coronavirus-car.jpg?resize=1200%2C800&ssl=1″ alt=”Person disinfecting and cleaning car interior with antiseptic liquid and wet disinfection wipes. Steering wheel is one of dirtiest parts in car and can contains viruses and bacteria.” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Touching public doorknobs, handrails, keypads, and shopping carts during the pandemic has made us all more aware of how many high-contact surfaces we use on a daily basis. But when it comes to the areas we don’t share with others, it can be easy to forget that potential cross-contamination can still be an issue. <span class=”s2″>”Not wiping down your inside door handle, steering wheel, or other surfaces is a big mistake,” says Jenkins. </span></p>
<p>And if you’re sharing your vehicle with other drivers, a more thorough cleaning is also recommended. Family physician <strong><span class=”s5″>Monique May</span></strong>, MD, adds that another “big mistake is <a href=”http://www.drmoniquemay.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>failing to wipe the rearview mirror</a> with disinfectant wipes. It’s highly likely that the mirror will be adjusted when a different driver takes the wheel, so be mindful to wipe it down.”</p>
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<div class=”number”>5</div>
<div class=”title”>And you’re not sanitizing your keys.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-231363″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/keys-car.jpg?resize=1200%2C800&ssl=1″ alt=”Disinfecting car key with gloved hand over wheel” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>”People may be sanitizing their hands and wearing masks, but sometimes they <a href=”https://montcochiro.com/team/dr-conrad/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>use contaminated hands and grab their keys</a> out of their pocket or bag,” says <strong>Allen Conrad</strong>, BS, DC, CSCS. “Taking small extra precautions like sanitizing your keys—as well as your credit card or other often-touched items—after leaving the store can help prevent the transmission of the virus.”</p>
<p>Want to avoid rustling through your bag when checking out altogether? Try using contactless forms of payment through your phone such as Apple Pay instead of swiping. Just make sure you’re still <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/sanitize-phone/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>wiping your phone down regularly</a>! And if you want to know how to keep your phone clean, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/coronavirus-phone-clean/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>How Experts Say You Should Clean Your Phone to Stop Coronavirus Spread</a>.</p>
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<div class=”number”>6</div>
<div class=”title”>You’re putting your shopping bags directly on your car seats.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-231362″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/bags-car.jpg?resize=1200%2C800&ssl=1″ alt=”Woman wearing mask putting shopping bags in car trunk” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>It’s not just you and your family potentially bringing harmful pathogens into your car—sometimes, it’s the items you’re picking up that can create a problem. “Putting bags that were on the ground or other potentially contaminated surfaces on the car seat is a huge mistake,” says May. She warns that any bags touching seats or other surfaces in the vehicle could contaminate the sterile space, creating potential exposure to the virus for anyone who sits down later. “Put grocery bags, boxes, and other supplies right in the trunk and use hand sanitizer after getting back in the car,” May recommends.</p>
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<div class=”number”>7</div>
<div class=”title”>You’re keeping the windows closed.</div>
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<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-200823″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/bestlifeonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/old-man-driving.jpg?resize=1200%2C801&ssl=1″ alt=”Senior man having bad eye sight and making effort to see the road.” width=”1200″ height=”801″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Researchers still have a lot to uncover when it comes to fully understanding COVID-19, but one of the most certain discoveries about the virus thus far has been the <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/clean-air-conditioning-coronavirus/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>importance of good ventilation</a> to prevent the virus from spreading through the air. With cars being one of the most common confined spaces we spend time in, it’s important that you do what you can to keep the air moving.</p>
<p>”Keep the window open even just a bit,” says Sarin. “<a href=”https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/04/22/coronavirus-car-protect-yourself-column/5166146002/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”><span class=”s5″>Research indicates</span></a> that even keeping the window open three inches could help to reduce the buildup of virus particles in the vehicle, which is pretty important if anyone aside from you uses the car.” And for more helpful tips for staying safe in our slowly reopening world, check out <a href=”https://bestlifeonline.com/beach-coronavirus/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make at the Beach</a>.</p>

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