Safe Thanksgiving: Driving During COVID-19

COVID Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. At least for some of us. We know, we know. No one is supposed to travel to be with family and friends. But unfortunately, some people say they plan to ignore the recommendations to stay home. So if you’re going to travel—and we don’t recommend this—at least take all the precautions possible to keep you and your loved ones safe.

As it turns out, one of the safest modes of travel right now, is driving. That’s because most people drive only with the people who live with them in their households, for instance, family. Driving or riding in your own car is definitely preferable to ride sharing. But you plan to drive to a Thanksgiving gathering in your own car, take the least number of rest stops you can get away with.

Gotta fill up or use the facilities? Cover your face, bring your own hand sanitizer (as opposed to using whatever is provided, and carry bleach wipes to wipe down whatever hard surfaces you come in contact with. It also doesn’t hurt to carry disposable gloves for handling gas nozzles and coming into contact with those credit card swipe machines.

Renting a car? Question the rental car company closely to find out if they have clear protocols for keeping their rentals super-clean and sanitized. Ask what sort of cleaning products they use and make sure those products are known to kill SARS-COV-2, the virus that leads to COVID-19. Don’t like the answers you receive? Keep calling around until you find a rental company that’s taking the right precautions.

If you have to use a taxi or a ridesharing service, watch to see that the driver and all passengers are wearing masks, as the CDC recommends. Try to avoid touching surfaces and never accept the free water bottles on offer. You also want to sit as far away as possible from the driver, and don’t be afraid to ask the driver to open the windows or to set the air ventilation system to the non-recirculation mode.

Some health officials have made even stronger recommendations. In the Bay Area, for instance, officials asked the public not to ride with any passengers at all unless they are family, and urged those who share rides, to always ride with the same people.

Public transportation is the least desirable way to travel right now for a variety of reasons. But if you have to use a bus, train, or other modes of public transit, avoid, as much as possible, touching surfaces. You’ll also want to travel during the less-popular hours, staying as far away from the other passengers as possible: preferably 6 feet away. The danger spots for public transport are stops and stations. Keep your distance from others and try not to touch anything.

We know you want to have your turkey, and eat it, too. So if you’re going to travel, take all the precautions possible. You wouldn’t want to contract a virus over a yearning for turkey with all the fixings. It’s just not a reasonable tradeoff.

Here’s to staying safe, this Thanksgiving. And preferably, eating turkey in your own dining room, with those in your immediate family, who live with you at home. It’s high time you learned how to make a really good Thanksgiving meal, including Granny Bertha’s famed pecan pie. We’re rooting for you.

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