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Best way to cut Covid risk when travelling in the car

Best way to cut Covid risk when travelling in the car

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Road trips and days out have returned with a bang so with more people getting together in the car, there is still a real risk of transmitting the disease.

Road trips and days out have returned with a bang following the lifting of most Covid-19 restrictions. But with more and more people getting together in the car, there is still a real risk of transmitting the disease, which can still infect vaccinated individuals. As a result, researchers at Swansea University have revealed the best way to cut the risk of transmitting Covid-19 in the car.


The research was supported by the Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) and has found the best way to avoid infection is to maximise in-car ventilation. It suggests that opening all windows below 30mph is advisable, but above that speed it’s more effective to open windows diagonally from each other, such as the driver’s front and passenger side rear window.


Keeping the other two windows closed created a more dominant air flow through the car than any other combination, the study revealed. The procedure is so effective in refreshing the vehicle’s air that it’s only necessary to do it for about 10 seconds at a time every five or 10 minutes. However, it’s also suggested to do so if someone coughs or sneezes in the car.


Project lead Professor Chenfeng Li said: “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. “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.”


As well as suggesting opening windows, the researchers found that it was safer to sit in the front of the car. This is because ventilation systems tend to push the air to the rear of the car where it can become trapped. Face coverings reduced transmission of the virus by 90 per cent, while intake of the virus was reduced by 70 per cent.