Coronavirus tips: How to avoid virus infiltrating your cars and two-wheelers
The coronavirus outbreak has forced people to stay at home due to lockdown in several states across the country. HT Auto also advocates 'stay-at-home' and social distancing policies in these trying times.
Should you, however, find an absolutely urgent need to step out in your vehicle, here are some steps to take to ensure that you are safe and your car is free of germs.
If you employ a local car cleaner* on a daily basis, you should stop now. Even your car needs social distancing as much as possible. And if a clean vehicle is your pride, it is advised that you do it yourself, although occasionally.
Among things you should regularly clean/disinfect are the places you touch more frequently, like door handles, seats, steering wheel, gear lever, infotainment screen, AC buttons, mirror controls, rear view mirrors, etc.
Even if you choose to continue with the services of your regular car cleaner, you should ensure this process is repeated every time you take your car out.
For two-wheelers, a thorough cleaning on a regular basis is the need of the hour since it is more exposed to the virus than a car. Your car cabin could be safe from the virus if kept locked, but not your favourite bike or scooter.
Use disinfectants and other cleaning items meant for cars and two-wheelers only to clean your vehicles. Using any other material could cause damage. For instance, using bleach to clean your car is not advisable since it can cause damage to the upholstery. Also, ammonia-based cleaners can cause damage to your touchscreen infotainment.
Cleaning AC vents with disinfectant spray should also be on top of your priority since it is reported that the coronavirus can survive for hours in air. Using an air purifier with HEPA filter might help but this has not been scientifically proven. Cleaning filters on a regular basis is also advisable.
Repeat the cleaning process when you return home to minimise risk of the virus infiltrating your car.
THINGS TO KEEP HANDY:
When you are out on the road, it is advisable to keep away from unwanted contact with other people. For unavoidable circumstances, here are some of the measures you should take:
Always keep a hand sanitiser, preferably with more than 60% alcohol content, in your vehicle. While you should use this every time you or your family use the car, also offer it to those coming in contact with you.
Keep a pair of gloves and a mask to keep yourself safe from the virus. Wearing a glove and a mask may minimise chances of you coming in contact with the virus.
Avoid paying cash at tolls, petrol pumps, parking lots as much as you can. Instead, use digital payment modes to avoid contact as much as possible. It will help if you can minimise your visits to petrol pumps now. Tank up whenever you need to refill to avoid frequent visits.
Avoid unnecessary trips at these times. This will only help you minimise chances of you and your vehicle coming in contact with the virus. Try to pack your schedule in one trip for those who must go out.
Meanwhile, for all else, stay home. Stay safe. The roads can wait.
*If you do decide to avoid services of your daily car cleaner, do ensure you pay him his wages. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has advocated that the economically-weaker section needs special attention.