Safe Driving Tips: Wearing a Face Mask While Driving
After the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, wearing face masks while outside of our homes became a regular part of our day-to-day lives. Whether you’re heading to the grocery store, to work, to school, or to do other errands, wearing a face mask is highly recommended, if not mandatory, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But even though we’re a few months into wearing face masks, some people still have questions about when, exactly, they need to be worn, such as whether or not they are necessary while driving.
Are Face Masks Needed While Driving?
Whether or not you need to wear a mask while driving depends on a few things. If you’re driving by yourself, that is considered a low-risk situation so you don’t have to wear a mask while you’re in the car. The same is true if you’re driving with other people who live with you in the same household. But if you’re driving with other people who live outside your household, wearing a mask is recommended since social distancing can be difficult, if not impossible, inside a car. This applies whether you’re giving a friend a ride somewhere or are driving for a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. In the case of driving for a rideshare service, both Uber and Lyft are currently requiring drivers and passengers to wear face masks while in the vehicle.
Even if you don’t have to wear a face mask while driving, there might be some times when you might want to wear one anyway. For example, if you’re out doing some errands and need to make a few stops that aren’t very far apart, you might want to leave your mask on while driving to minimize touching your mask. It’s also recommended to wear a face mask when going through a drive-thru or picking up an order curbside because if you’re close enough for somebody to hand something to you, you’re close enough to risk the spread of germs.
How to Safely Wear a Face Mask While Driving
If you’re going to wear a face mask while driving, it’s extremely important to make sure the mask won’t be a distraction. Remember that distracted driving isn’t just limited to texting or making phone calls while driving. Anything that forces a driver to take their eyes or attention off the road or take their hands off the steering wheel is considered distracted driving and there’s a chance that a face mask could fall into that category.
Before you start driving while wearing a face mask, it’s extremely important to make sure your mask fits comfortably, will securely stay in place, and isn’t blocking your vision in any way. If your mask isn’t adjusted correctly and starts to slide out of place, that’s a very serious distraction because it not only takes attention away from the road, people will likely take at least one hand off the wheel while they try to fix it.
If you wear glasses, you’re probably experienced having your glasses fog up while wearing a face mask. In many cases, this is nothing more than an annoyance. But if it happens while you’re trying to drive, it could potentially be very dangerous. There are lots of tips and tricks making the rounds on the internet about how to prevent this. One tip the Cleveland Clinic recommends is to wash the lenses of your glasses using soapy water and letting them air dry so that the soap creates a film that will prevent your glasses from fogging. This is a trick many healthcare professionals have been doing for years, but if you have any special coatings on the lenses of your glasses, it’s important to check with your optician to make sure doing this won’t harm your lenses.
For people wearing glasses, it’s also a good idea to look for face masks that have a nose bridge which can be molded to fit your face and prevent your glasses from fogging. Another simple option is to pull your mask higher up on your nose, if possible, and place the bridge of your glasses over the top of the material since this will block air from escaping through your mask.
Times are difficult right now and car accidents can make an already difficult situation even worse. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s extremely important to make sure you know your legal rights. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a car accident lawyer who can help answer your questions and help you understand your legal options. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have many years of experience helping the victims of Michigan car accidents. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
Image: iStock / Mark Dymchenko