It’s a fact that driving with coronavirus in the air hasn’t gotten any easier. At the height of the pandemic, everybody wore masks. You cleaned your car like crazy, constantly de-germed your hands, and maybe even dispensed hand sanitizer to people you met up with. Many drivers even wore medical gloves while working rideshare and delivery gigs.
Here we are, two years hence. Things are slowly starting to change, and all those protective protocols are being relaxed one by one. Yet, with coronavirus and its variants still lingering, and rumors of even more new variants erupting worldwide, it’s scary to think about what can happen.
We at Gridwise want you to feel safe while working your driving and delivery gigs. So we did some research and found four great ways for you to maintain a layer of protection against coronavirus and other airborne pathogens. We’ll tell you all about it by covering:
- Why would rideshare (Uber/Lyft) and delivery drivers still want protection?
- What shields and other protective measures can and cannot do
- Four great options to protect rideshare and delivery drivers
Why would rideshare (Uber/Lyft) and delivery drivers still want protection?
Admit it. You’ve had that sinking feeling.
A passenger has been coughing throughout the ride, sneezes all over your back seat, then touches the door handle with a used tissue on the way out. Or a restaurant employee hacks into the crook of his elbow on the same arm s/he’s using to hand over your delivery order. Customers get into your car before putting on their masks. With coronavirus and other pathogens still spreading, how many possible horror movie scenes roll past your eyes on one shift?
Living with coronavirus in the air for countless months has made us all think more about being cautious – and our caution is warranted. The CDC has determined that the primary way people become infected by SARS-CoV-2 (the type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19) is by inhaling very fine droplets of respiratory fluids that carry infectious viruses. The agency explains: “The smallest very fine droplets, and aerosol particles formed when these fine droplets rapidly dry, are small enough that they can remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours.”
In line with the CDC’s mandate for public transportation conveyances, rideshare and delivery companies still require masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus. But as government authorities relax their mandates, people may become less vigilant about keeping their diseases to themselves – even when they enter into the close confines of your car.
Avoiding other people’s germs doesn’t make you mean or rude; it’s still part of your job to make sure you and your riders are wearing masks. But even if you’re masking up to prevent yourself and the people around you from contracting coronavirus, you are still vulnerable. Why is this? Because your eyes are exposed.
As with the nose or mouth, the surface of the eye and inner eyelids are lined by mucous membranes. So, even when your mouth and nose are covered, if someone sneezes or coughs while in close enough proximity to you, you’re vulnerable to whatever microbes may be emanating from their mucous membranes.
Since you’re a driver, covering your eyes with a cloth would obviously pose more than a few challenges.
You’re going to need something else.
A number of protective devices are available, one of which is plastic shields. Many grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and doctor’s offices are still pretty big on them. These larger shields may form a barrier that provides protection for people on both sides, while smaller versions can be worn over the face. And now, there is an option that doesn’t have to form a barrier between you and your passengers.
What shields and other protective devices can and cannot do
First of all, the CDC maintains its stance that face masks are the best way for people to protect themselves from airborne pathogens. The agency makes it clear that shields can offer an extra layer of protection – but should not be considered a substitute for face masks. In a February 2022 article, the CDC writes:
“A face shield is effective at protecting the person wearing it from splashes to the face, particularly the eyes, but face shields do not protect others from respiratory droplets exhaled by the wearer. A face shield worn without a mask also does not protect the person wearing it from inhaling respiratory droplets.”
If and when the CDC relaxes its mandate for masks on public transportation conveyances, the rideshare companies will likely follow suit and relax their mandates. You can certainly opt to continue wearing a mask, but your passengers may not. In that case, using shields will help provide protection.
But protecting yourself isn’t limited to shields; there are also ways to purify the air in your vehicle that eliminate up to 99.9% of airborne viruses. How cool is that?
So, let’s take a look at some options, and then you can decide what works best for you.
3 great options to protect rideshare and delivery drivers
Many options are available to you, depending on your personal preferences and what makes you feel the safest. We’ve chosen three of them, and if you want more information after reading about them, simply tap (or click) on the company name to visit the product website.
We’ll start with the product that we consider the very best for protection: nUVo™ Traveler, a super-slick device that slips right into your cup holder. The nUVo Traveler uses UVC air disinfection technology to protect you and your entire car from airborne pathogens such as molds, bacteria, and viruses including influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and its variants with up to 99.9% effectiveness.
nUVo™ Traveler is the ultimate personal disinfection device for cars. It runs cordlessly on four-hour rechargeable batteries, and when it needs more juice, you just connect it to your USB port. This little gem performs eight air changes per hour (8AH) for cars, and for spaces up to 100 feet, it goes through 4 ACH. And since it fits in your backpack, delivery drivers can carry it along on pickups and dropoffs. It works without filters, so there’s no need to spend money and time replacing them.
This high-tech disinfection device is the perfect solution to a problem that all drivers face: the risk of airborne pathogens. And here’s what else nUVo™ Traveler has to offer:
Easy installation. Just stick it in your cup holder.
Discreet operation. It’s quiet, so passengers won’t even notice it’s there.
Peace of mind. No need to worry about viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens being circulated through the air inside your car.
nUVo™ Traveler is definitely the way to go. Priced at $195, it’s a great investment and … Gridwise drivers get a discount. Enter the promo code GRID 30, and you’ll be taking the first step toward protecting your customers and your business, as well as yourself.
Another reason we love nUVo™ Traveler – it’s a lot easier, less awkward, and more efficient than the other options we looked at. See for yourself.
Sneeze guards help protect you from any fluids that might come out with a passenger’s messy sneeze or cough. Some guards require you to attach them to your vehicle in a semi-permanent installation. This is suitable for rideshare work, but using the same vehicle for an outing with family or friends could become slightly socially awkward.
Walmart sells a reasonably priced ($86.99) sneeze guard that attaches to your vehicle with adjustable straps, without using adhesives or other hardware. This means it’s easy to remove and reinstall, so you can get your vehicle back to “normal” anytime you wish. The installation, according to the company, won’t leave any tell-tale marks on your car. It’s also clear, so you can still see your passengers and the view through the rearview mirror.
This can be a workable option, but be aware of the psychological and logistical effects you might encounter. For instance, your passengers may feel safe, but not comfortable, with a physical barrier between you. Ease of communication could become an additional issue, as could climate control, particularly when temperatures rise.
3. Face Shields
Although you might find it awkward to drive while wearing a face shield, you can keep one handy for times when you need it. This might be while you’re making deliveries, carrying packages through uncomfortably large crowds, interacting with people you feel might put you at risk, or any other occasion when you want extra protection.
The great news about face shields is they’re inexpensive; prices start at under $10. They come in a variety of materials, and there are some considerations you may want to think about.
One is ease of handling without touching the inside of the shield. The other factors include weight, durability, comfort, and the likelihood of the material standing up against cracks and scratches. And, of course, you would want to know the mask wouldn’t constantly be fogging up. The OMK reusable face shield, pictured above, seems to be the hands-down winner with many reviewers, including Health.com, which rated the best of the best face shields in this article.
Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic heightened awareness about contagious diseases – and how easy pathogens can be transmitted. That’s an excellent reason, as more people take their masks off, for you to be wise about protecting yourself against getting sick. These options will go a long way toward helping you in that effort.
And…remember to cash in on that special offer from nUVo™.