New Research Reveals How To Avoid Covid When Driving

Tue 17th Aug 2021

With millions of Brits taking to the road this summer to enjoy a staycation, the necessary downside is that many of us will be stuck inside the confines of a car for a long journey - perfect conditions for spreading Covid.

Now professors at Swansea University have revealed a list of tips to ensure that the chances of catching Covid-19 in a car are reduced. In partnership with the Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies, the researchers have come up with the best ways of optimising ventilation.

The key recommendation of the step-by-step guide is that whenever driving at speeds lower than 30mph that all windows should be open, which in the temperate British summertime might be a challenge in windy and rainy weather. Above 30mph the advice is to open windows diagonally from one another, as this creates a more dominant air flow through the car. The Swansea University research suggests that using this technique will mean that the windows only need to be open for 10 seconds at a time, every 10 minutes.

 “When a Covid-19 patient coughs, saliva containing the virus is expelled in the form of droplets. Large-size droplets fall quickly to the ground, while small-size droplets evaporate quickly,” said Professor Chenfeng Li from Swansea University.

“These droplets of saliva disappear in the air in seconds, but the small-size droplets release the contained virus into the air after evaporation, which can survive up to an hour and remain infectious.

“The virus can survive on surfaces and remain infectious for different periods of time, depending on the surface type. It is the dispersing of these small droplets that we focused on in our study.”

Another suggestion is to sit in the front of the vehicle, mainly because most modern vehicles’ air-conditioning pushes the air to the rear of the vehicle.

The most obvious advice however remains to wear a mask, reducing transmission of the virus by 90 per cent.