Do I need to wear a face mask when driving with passengers?

With the Omicron variant seeing a surge in Covid infections, drivers are asking ‘do I need to wear a mask in my car?’. Here is what we know so far on the subject and how it could affect you?

Man wearing a mask in a car because of CovidFind out when and if you might need to wear a mask while driving your car.

I am in the car on my own – do I need to wear a mask?

If travelling in a car on your own there is no need to wear a face covering if you do not wish to. However, it makes sense to always have a face covering to hand in your vehicle, just in case circumstances unexpectedly change during the course of your journey.

I am driving with members of my family as passengers in my private vehicle – do I need a covering?

If you are driving with your immediate family members who you live with, there is no need to pull on a face covering.

However, if the passengers are extended family members that you do not usually spend a lot of time with, then you – and all of your passengers – should wear an appropriate covering throughout the journey?

What if the passengers are my children?

If the children are from your immediate family or you are their main carers, then neither you or the children will be required to put on coverings while in your private vehicle.

The passengers are children who are not from my immediate family?

Children over the age of 11 should wear masks – along with any adults.

Kids under the age of 11 do not need to wear coverings – and The UK Health and Security Agency does not recommend coverings for anyone under the age of three for health and safety reasons.

If the children are not required to, or able to, wear a face covering, consider driving with the windows open (if safe) to ensure adequate ventilation and reduce the risk of infection for all occupants.

I am travelling in a private vehicle with friends or colleagues

In this situation, all occupants of the should wear coverings to lessen the risk of infection. The windows should be open too, in an attempt to increase ventilation.

Should I have my car’s blower on to help with ventilation?

Yes, but you should switch the system to pull in fresh air from the outside and not choose the recirculation option which could simply circulate the virus, if present, throughout the cabin.

I wear glasses that steam up when I wear a mask when driving

You must always ensure that your vision is not restricted in any way while driving. If you cannot stop your glasses from steaming – often by fitting the covering close to your nose using the wires in disposable versions and letting your specs overlap – you should remove your mask immediately and look for a safe place to stop and address the situation accordingly. Remember, you could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if you drive without glasses if you need, them.

Do I need to wear a mask when having a driving lesson?

Yes. New Covid restrictions mean that both the student and instructor must wear a mask during practical lessons, unless exempt. 

The instructor and student must also wear a face covering when travelling to take a practical driving test unless exempt. If this is not adhered to, the student will not be able to take the test. 

Candidates an examiners will also need to wear a mask during the practical test.

Have a face covering handy in your vehicle

Remember, you will need to wear a covering when using petrol stations and many parts of motorway services, unless you are exempt.

Is wearing a mask mandatory in a car?

No. At present, the advice is just that – advice.  

 
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