The coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for all of us, including individuals, families, as well as businesses and self-employed workers like yourself. Now, although social distancing and lockdown restrictions have been issued, much like food delivery workers, you can’t make money when staying home as an Uber driver.
Yet, driving for a living can already be a stressful job. Now, imagine adding the stress of getting the virus when one of your passengers sneezes or coughs in your car. Thus, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you need to take several measures to protect yourself and your passengers from the virus.
Practice good hygiene
According to experts, practising good personal hygiene is the first step to keeping the virus away. The new SARS-CoV-2 is highly sensitive to heat and all types of soap. Thus, if you touch surfaces that are also frequently touched by your passengers, make sure that you regularly clean your hands.
Now, it may be challenging to wash your hands with hot water and soap several times a day while you are on the road. However, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitiser or disinfectant wipes to keep your hand clean.
Also, to protect yourself from getting the virus, make sure you don’t touch your face, especially your eyes, nose, or mouth when your hands are not disinfected. Plus, make sure that you wear protective equipment like medical face masks, to prevent the virus from entering your mouth or nose, and gloves, especially if you touch your passengers’ bags and luggage, although we do recommend you not to.
Clean inside surfaces regularly
Keeping your car clean is a matter of common sense on any given day. Yet, during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is also crucial to disinfect it properly, especially those frequently touched surfaces. Make sure that your car is as clean as an operating room to protect you and your passengers from getting infested with coronavirus.
However, just spraying the inside of your car with disinfectant and wiping it off won’t kill the coronavirus. Epidemiologists and the HSE recommend spraying disinfectant on the surface you need to clean and then letting it sit there for at least 15 minutes before wiping it off.
Make sure that you clean all touched surfaces, including door handles inside and out, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window buttons, and seats, at least a few times a day. Also, open your car’s windows whenever possible to improve ventilation. Yet, avoid using the AC as the filters can easily be contaminated and spread germs in your vehicle.
Have hand sanitiser and tissues for your passengers
Asking your passengers to disinfect their hands when entering your car is a great way to avoid the virus from spreading in case they are carrying it in their hands. You can place alcohol-based hand sanitiser or disinfectant wipes in the back of your car so that your passengers can easily reach them.
Also, epidemiologists say that the new virus is most likely to spread as a result of close contact. Direct contact means a person infected with coronavirus directly sneezes or coughs on you. So you should have tissues available for your passengers as well so that they can cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
Ask riders to sit at the back
Since the coronavirus can be taken with close contact, epidemiologists recommend keeping a distance from other people as much as possible. Now, this is challenging when you are an Uber driver. However, you can at least make sure that you keep the front seat clear because that’s just too close.
Ask your passengers to sit at the back of the car to keep a safe distance between you during the ride. Unfortunately, some may not be as understanding, and you may have to cancel a few rides. Yet, remember that your safety and your passengers’ safety are much more important than losing a few bucks on a ride.
Moreover, as mentioned above, it would be better if you would ask your passengers to handle their bags and luggage. It is normal to be as helpful as possible with your passengers, especially if you see them struggling with a heavy bag or luggage. Yet, by encouraging them to get their stuff handled, you avoid exposing yourself by getting too close to the passengers or touching their stuff, which may be infected with the virus.
Be prepared for panic and distracted driving
As the coronavirus started to spread all around the world a couple of months ago, people began to panic. They displayed dangerous behaviours, especially in traffic in areas like supermarkets or medical centres.
Just like it is during the holiday seasons, when people rush to purchase goods, during the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers may display dangerous driving behaviour, such as driving at higher speeds. This time is not like rushing to the mall to shop for food and presents. Now, people perceive everything as a need for survival.
So, streets may seem emptier as traffic congestion has decreased, following government advice and curfews. However, you should be precocious while on the road and should always have your car documents with you. Moreover, make sure you have Uber insurance to financially protect yourself, your vehicle, and your passengers in case of a collision.
Talk about what you’re doing to keep your passengers safe
Let’s be honest, coronavirus is the “big thing” that is on everyone’s minds these days. So, if you are making great efforts to protect not only yourself but also your passengers from getting the virus during the ride, you may also share it with the riders to inform them about how to use ridesharing services safely these days.
Most passengers will appreciate your efforts and share them with their peers as well. So, the more you spread the news about all these safety measures, the more protected you, your passengers, and your fellow Uber drivers will be over the next months while the virus is still spreading rapidly.