New Normal For Drivers

4 min read
The COVID-19 situation is likely to last for some time, so developing these habits when driving will help keep infections at bay.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives and disrupted our way of living. It has already been a year since the pandemic started, and Singapore has managed to keep infection rates low through active measures such as masking up and social distancing. Although life is slowly getting back to normal… well, a new normal, we should never underestimate the virus even if vaccines are now available.

Drivers should always maintain safe habits and practices to keep the virus at bay as they go about their day-to-day activities, such as driving to work, sending the kids to school, or going out for grocery runs or for leisure.

LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PLACES
As Singapore opens up phase by phase, it is understandable that people are relieved to be able to get out and about again. However, that doesn’t mean driving everywhere and staying out until late. The more places visited, the higher the chance of catching COVID-19 through being in the vicinity of people who harbour the virus and bringing it back into the car. Strategise driving trips to avoid making too many unnecessary stops, and keep visits short to minimise exposure to the virus.

LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PASSENGERS
In reference to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines, under the New Normal Safe Commuting, drivers and passengers are required to keep their masks on if they are from different households. You should limit the number of passengers in your car, and have them in the rear seats furthest from the driver. Within the confines of a car, it’s hard to maintain a safe distance, so insist that your passengers keep their masks on and sanitise their hands. Minimise conversations; if you must speak, keep the volume low. If the weather and traffic conditions permit, roll down the windows — this has been shown to remove infectious droplets and keep the cabin air fresh. If possible, keep a bottle of hand sanitiser in the back seat or rear door pocket for passengers to use. Having spare disposable masks in the car is useful for when passengers forget theirs.

SANITISE AFTER EACH TRIP
Use the hand sanitiser immediately after getting into the car at each destination to avoid contaminating the car interior with germs that may have been picked up from the area. At the end of the trip, drivers should make it a habit to sanitise high-touch areas such as the steering wheel, interior door handles, gear shift, cup holders, and dashboard switches. Make it a habit to wipe down the car seats and surface areas with sanitisers or with disinfecting wipes. Prior to each trip, drivers should make sure they have a full bottle of sanitiser or disinfecting wipes, and an extra set of disposable mask. It is also good practice to have on hand a sealable disposable plastic bag for used tissues or wipes.

SHOPPING TIPS
Shopping opens up another opportunity for the virus to spread. Leverage contactless payments where possible. The items and bags may have contaminated surfaces, so drivers should be mindful of their actions when loading them in the car. Avoid flinging or dumping the items onto the seats or into the boot. These aggressive actions may send infection particles airborne and into even more areas of your car’s interior. Instead, place your purchases carefully and securely in the car. If they are non-edible items, have the item or bag surfaces sanitised or wiped down with disinfectant before driving off. Keep to a safe speed and avoid bad driving practices such as tailgating — hitting the brakes and sending items flying only leads to the dislodging of germs and viruses!

Drivers must not be complacent and fall into the mindset that things are back to normal. The pandemic may stay around a while longer, so sticking to safe driving practices should be every driver’s mantra to keep them and their loved ones safe from the virus.

AA SINGAPORE SERVICES THAT CAN HELP
AA Singapore offers an Anti-Bacterial Treatment, Backtakleen. Clinically proven by Chemlab, TUV, SIRIM and SGS, this process kills 99.9% of bacteria, mould and fungi, reduces the spread of viruses (e.g., H1N1, SARS, common cold), improves air quality, and reduces bad odour.
Price: $59 (Member); $68 (Non-member)

If you have a domestic helper who is able to keep your car spick and span for you, you need to better protect this gem of a person! Consider covering her under the AA MaidCare Plus insurance scheme, which now has special COVID-19 privileges. For example, Hospital and Surgical Expenses is now covered should COVID-19 be contracted on or after 1 April 2020 when medically treated in designated hospitals appointed by the Government for existing and new policies. Sign up your domestic helper now and you may be eligible for a $15 FairPrice voucher!

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