Home Editor's Picks Coronavirus and car use: Latest advice for UK drivers and passengers

Coronavirus and car use: Latest advice for UK drivers and passengers

by WeDrive

A recap of current government advice for users of cars and other private vehicles

As the UK looks towards easing out of lockdown and returning to something close to resembling normality, it feels increasingly confusing what the current guidelines are. This includes uncertainty concerning transport and travel; what the guidelines are around what you should/shouldn’t do, and what the recommended safety advice is.

With that in mind, we thought we’d highlight and provide a summary of the government’s latest official guidelines and safety advice for drivers and private vehicle users (including passengers).

Before you set off


Plan your route, including any breaks, before setting out. Routes may be different as local areas make changes to enable social distancing on pavements and cycle routes.


If you normally share a vehicle with people from other households for essential journeys, we recommend you find a different way to travel. For example, consider walking, cycling or using your own vehicle if you can.


If you have to travel with people outside your household group, try to share the transport with the same people each time and keep to small groups of people at any one time.CHECK YOUR CARCheck that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy if you haven’t used it for several weeks.

What to bring with you


There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas. If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.


A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks used by healthcare workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.


Consider making a list of items to take with you.

During your journey


If driving, you should anticipate more pedestrians and cyclists than usual, especially at peak times. Allow other road users to maintain social distance. E.g. give cyclists space at traffic lights. Public Health England recommends keeping a 2 m distance from others.


Limit time spent at garages, petrol stations and motorway services. Keep your distance from other people and if possible pay by contactless. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise them when arriving and leaving.


Be aware of the surfaces you or others touch. If people from different households use a vehicle (for example through a car share), you should clean it between journeys using gloves and cleaning products. Clean door handles, steering wheel and other areas people may touch.


If people from different households use a vehicle at once, ventilation (keeping windows open) and facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of transmission. Consider seating arrangements to optimise distance between people in the vehicle.


If you are in close proximity to people outside your household, you should:

  • avoid physical contact
  • try to face away from them
  • keep the time you spend close to them as short as possible

When you reach your destination

When finishing your journey, the government recommends that you:

  • follow local guidance
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible

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