The New Normal

3 min read
How the COVID-19 pandemic has us rethinking our driving habits.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down, affecting our way of life on many fronts: how we work, how we live — and also how we drive. Our personal space has become even more important, and that extends to our cars and how we use or share it. Even offering friends a lift can be a touchy subject, as passengers and driver may have reservations about being in a confined cabin without safe distancing!

Sanitisers & Shopping Bags At Hand 
As drivers, going on a drive now entails us taking on more things than just our car keys. Now we have to make sure we have our masks on, and our hand sanitisers and wipes within easy reach in the car. Getting into our cars, some of us now keep to a ritual of sanitising just about anything in the car. A good cleaning and sanitising ritual is vital, and we need to focus on areas that are considered high traffic, such as the steering wheel, car door handles, and seats. Don’t over-saturate, as a high dose of alcohol-based sanitiser can get a little overwhelming in the confines of your car’s cabin!

Bringing along your own shopping bags may have been a popular idea for the green movement, but the practice has seen a resurgence during the pandemic. While this may be because the average driver is packing more sanitising items during the drive, it’s a better option for keeping both yourself and the earth safe.

Children In Tow 
Our leisurely weekend drives may take on a not-so-leisurely preparation, especially if we have kids in tow. For those with babies, more thought has to go into making those excursions even safer. Having a weekend out in the car used to be just ferrying the family; now we have additional things to note and take care of. All these have made what was a simple weekend out less leisurely, and that may lead to more staying home instead.
Eating In 
Even though we are in Phase 2 and dining out is allowed, some of us have continued the practice of eating in our cars, especially if we’re alone, courtesy of Phase 1 — this could be the new normal in a post-COVID world. If this scenario turns out to be true, keep in mind the need to air and clean out the cabin once in a while. You don’t want a smelly interior and cockroaches for companions! In addition, eating while driving causes distraction, which increases the risk of crash and accidents.

Waiting For Friends 
If we have to wait for someone, lingering outside isn’t encouraged; most would retreat into our cars instead. Remember to turn off the engine running — it is an offence not to. It would be ironical to take steps to prevent viral transmission, yet adversely affect the health of others through the emissions from an idling engine. Make sure you are in a safe and legal spot, switch off the engines, and wind down the windows.

Habits do die hard, but new ones are often cultivated from extreme situations, especially when lives are at risk. Drive safe, stay safe!