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9 Ways To Stay Safe On A Road Trip During COVID-19

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Cheng Sim  •  Jun 11, 2020

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Going on a road trip in Malaysia is something that we've set aside for a few months due to the pandemic situation. Now that interstate travel is allowed in Malaysia, we bet you're excited to balik kampung and visit your parents or grandparents again. In the midst of the excitement, it's important to note that travelling during the pandemic has changed. We have to practice good hygiene and social distancing when we're out and about. If you're concerned about staying safe on a road trip during COVID-19, we have some tips to help you!
Before driving
1. Make sure you're in good health before you travel
If you're experiencing minor symptoms such as headache, cough, and mild fever, it's best to stay home and self-isolate until you recover, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). You may be excited to meet your parents, grandparents as well as your nieces and nephews, but they are part of the high-risk groups that are more vulnerable to getting COVID-19. The high-risk groups include senior citizens above 60 years old as well as anyone with a weak immune system or underlying health conditions such as lung or heart disease and diabetes.
2. Disinfect your car 
To reduce the risk of getting COVID-19,  WHO  recommends disinfecting high-touch surfaces in a non-healthcare setting. If you're on a road trip, avoid turning your car into a hotbed of germs and viruses. Bring a packet of disinfecting wipes or a bottle of disinfectant spray, so you can do a quick wipe down on the main touchpoints in your vehicle. Toyota highlighted 40 key touchpoints to clean inside and outside of your vehicle, but here are the main touchpoints you can start with.
  • Car keys
  • Door handles
  • Window switches
  • Steering wheel and horn
  • Control stalks
  • Dashboard
  • Gear shift
  • Glovebox and cupholders
  • Rear-view mirror
3. Bring hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and face masks
The pandemic has definitely changed the way we travel. Besides bringing a spare tire and roadside emergency kit, remember to bring hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes or disinfectant spray, and face masks. Since travelling without a face mask is not allowed, place a box of face masks safely in the glovebox if you have extra at home.
4. Limit the number of passengers in your car
According to Free Malaysia Today, Malaysia's Senior Minister for Security, Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced that only four passengers are allowed to travel in the same car or depending on the vehicle capacity. Although it was previously announced that only passengers from the same household are allowed to travel together, the Senior Minister recently shared that non-family members are allowed as long as it doesn't exceed the vehicle capacity. 
When you stop at the R&R or petrol station
5. Practice social distancing
To reduce the chances of getting COVID-19, practice social distancing when you're at the R&R or petrol station. Always maintain a one-meter distance between yourself and others, especially when you're around someone who is coughing or sneezing. Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected person, it's best to stay safe.
6. Maintain one-meter distance if you're dining out
Note: This photo was taken last year before the pandemic If you're planning to grab a quick bite at the R&R, we recommend dining during off-peak hours to avoid the crowd, maintain a one-meter distance between yourself and other diners as well as allowing servers to set down your food. Read more on things you should know if you're dining out during the RMCO.
7. Bring your own prayer garments and mats
 For those who are planning to perform their prayers at the surau, remember to bring your own prayer garment and mats. Keep in mind that suraus, which usually fit between 15 and 20 people, can get crowded. We recommend performing your prayers at home before your road trip or time your journey properly, so you can pray as soon as you reach your destination. 
Once you arrived at your destination
8. Disinfect your car 
Now that you've arrived at your destination, it's important to do another round of wipe down to disinfect the main touchpoints in your vehicle. You can repeat the second point in this article and include more areas such as the central storage compartment, door handle and most importantly, your keys.
9. Wash your hands with soap and water
Before you give your parents and grandparents a hug, wash your hands with soap and water using the steps from our hand hygiene tips article . You need to make sure that your palm, fingers and nails are thoroughly clean. Better yet, take a shower before you give your family a well-deserved hug. After months of staying at home, we know how excited you are to finally return to your hometown and visit your family again. In the midst of your road trip, remember that a few hygiene measures are required to stay safe while you're on the go. If you're planning for more road trips in Malaysia, check out these articles below!