drivers shield themselves from COVID-19

4 Ways drivers can shield themselves from COVID-19

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Of course you wear a mask. You wash your hands. You keep your front passenger seat blocked off with a yoga mat or a pillow, so no one can sit there. 

Maybe you even wear gloves while you’re working your rideshare and delivery gigs. Yet, with COVID-19 still lingering in the air, and rumors of new surges erupting worldwide, it’s scary to think about what can happen.

At Gridwise, we want you to feel safe while working your driving and delivery gigs. So we did some searching, and found four great ways for you to add an additional layer of protection to your COVID-19 routine—with shields. There are face shields, as well as shields for the interior of your vehicle. And in case you’re not sure this is the solution for you, we’ll present you with some ideas to ponder, such as:

Why would you want a shield?

Admit it. You’ve had the feeling. 

A passenger 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 just before handing over the order you have to pick up. Customers get into your car before actually putting on their masks. With the virus still spreading, how do these potential horror scenes make you feel?

It doesn’t make you mean or rude for not wanting to leave yourself open to other people’s germs, particularly with something as frightening as COVID-19 going around. 

So, in addition to sanitizing your vehicle and delivery equipment and wearing a mask, what else should you do?

If you’re using common sense about protecting yourself and the people around you from the dangers of contracting COVID, you realize that like your nose and mouth, your eyes are also mucous membranes. All mucous membranes are vulnerable areas, through which a virus can easily enter the human body. 

So, even if your mouth and nose are covered, when someone sneezes, coughs, or even expresses saliva while speaking in close enough proximity to reach your eyes, 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.

While at the grocery store, the pharmacy, or even the DMV, you’ve undoubtedly noticed people with plastic shields, or sneeze guards. 

They’re worn and installed as that extra boundary of protection against infection with COVID-19. If you thought they were just for medical personnel and commercial establishments, you might be happy to learn that you can have them, too, right over your face or in your vehicle.

Before letting you get carried away with which one is right for you, let’s get more facts about shields on the table.

What shields can and cannot do

At first glance, you might consider how protective a shield could be and think, “Great! Now I can stop wearing a mask!” But … that’s not completely true. A lot of contradictory information has been disseminated throughout the COVID crisis, and in many cases, even trusted authority figures have provided conflicting advice about masks, goggles, shields, gloves, and so forth.

Stripping the cloud of confusion down to bare facts, it makes sense that, if you choose to wear a shield, you should also wear a mask. The prevailing viewpoint among medical professionals is that shields protect you from being infected by others, but masks do a better job of stopping others from being infected by you. “A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it,” states an August 2020 article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s because masks, although not perfect, do provide more of a seal around your nose and mouth.

But not everyone is able to wear a mask, as the CDC explains: “Wearing a mask may not be feasible in every situation for some people.” This includes those who are deaf or hard of hearing, “or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired.” For these individuals, wearing a face shield would offer at least some protection, while allowing them to avoid being adversely affected by wearing a mask.

In general, shields offer an extra layer of protection. And when we as delivery and rideshare drivers use them, we’re adding that extra layer, and also helping to prevent virus-infected droplets from getting into our bodies through the eyes. 

Obviously, using a shield could make you feel safer, and your passengers will almost always appreciate it too. Your needs for a shield will vary according to the way you use your vehicle, as well as whether you’re engaging in delivery or rideshare work. So, let’s take a look at some options, and then you can decide what might work best for you.

4 great shield options for delivery and rideshare drivers

Shields come in different shapes and sizes, and of course there are personal shields as well as shields designed for vehicles. 

Most of the vehicle shields divide the front and back seat areas, insulating the driver from passengers. While some achieve a complete seal, others leave gaps so air from the climate control system can circulate, and conversations can still comfortably take place.

Take a look at these four options, keeping your needs in mind. For more information on any of them, click on the company name and you’ll be taken to the product website. That way, you can decide which shield is the best for you, your safety, and your gig driving style.

1. The D.I.Y.

Maybe your first impulse is to build your own shield for your car … or face. A Baltimore rideshare driver did just that. He purchased a plastic sheet, and deftly enclosed himself in it. It’s possible to do this, of course, but it leads us to wonder how it really feels under there! This driver seems to feel safe, even if his solution isn’t all that pretty. 

We don’t know if he always wears a mask. If he doesn’t, he’ll have to put one on if he expects to open his app—and to be certain that droplets from his mouth and nose aren’t present in the air that gets through gaps in his makeshift shield.

A definite plus is the low cost. The driver managed to do all this by spending about $25 at his local home construction supply store.

2. Driver Bubble™

If you want to do this right, it might be wise to look to people who really know what they’re doing. Driver Bubble™ offers all kinds of options to fit your needs for a shield. The one shown in this photo is as economical as it is useful. 

The Driver Bubble™ ONE is solidly constructed and made from polycarbonate, which is far more durable and less susceptible to scratching and smudging than regular plastic. The ONE sells for approximately $87.

If that’s too pricey for you, there is a “Flex” version of ONE that’s made of PVC and sells for approximately $47.

The ONE also keeps the driver isolated, and could potentially make it possible for you to accommodate more than three riders at a time, as long as doing so isn’t outside the parameters set by your rideshare company. 

Other offerings from Driver Bubble™ include standard shields that separate the front and back seat areas, which come in both average and large sizes for SUVs and trucks. There is also the Driver Bubble™ Sneeze Guard. It’s priced at approximately $58, and is an easy-to-install, polycarbonate shield that is secured to the front seat headrests. Driver Bubble™ also sells masks, which shows the company’s awareness of the need to use those along with shields for total safety and protection.

3. Color Legends

Color Legends offers a clear, 2mm PVC sneeze guard. It’s made in the USA, is ultra clear, won’t wrinkle or tear, and can stand up to sunlight. It’s easy to install, and can be cut to adjust to your vehicle space. 

This company also offers a 16mm-thick PVC film, similar to what is used in soft boat windows and party tents. It’s UV resistant and fire rated, as well as washable and wrinkle resistant. 

You’ll need to contact Color Legends to get the price, as neither the website nor their catalog provides that information. It looks like a pretty solid option, but without a definite price, it’s difficult to know if it would be worth the purchase. 

The company, in general, seems to specialize in workplace-scale shielding solutions and works largely in wholesale quantities. That may affect the price, and make it less value for the money.

4. 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 include while making deliveries, carrying packages through an uncomfortably large crowd, interacting with people you don’t know and who are not masked, and anytime you want to have extra protection.

The great news about face shields is they’re inexpensive; prices start at under $10. They are made of different materials, and there are some considerations you’ll probably want to take into account. 

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.

According to the CDC, face shields that wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin, or hooded face shields, provide the greatest amount of protection.

Our pick for the best shield of all

Sticking with an established company seems to make the most sense to us, and we feel that there’s one that really stands out. 

And that “one” is … Driver Bubble™, particularly the Driver Bubble™ ONE. This is our favorite because it seems to be the most useful of all options, and is also economical.

We like the way it looks. It has a very professional appearance. It doesn’t give you the sense that someone took a piece of cheap shower curtain and haphazardly hung it up in the vehicle. The ONE is elegant, sleek, and well-fitted. And, because it’s made of polycarbonate, it’s durable and easy to clean and disinfect. It simply wraps around the driver’s seat, and can be used by drivers who are either right- or left-handed. 

When you’re “in the bubble” you can still use your mirrors and talk to your passengers because the shield isn’t super-thick or cloudy. At 1mm of thickness, the ONE offers protection without undue isolation.

With a product as great as this one, it’s easy to really, really like this company—and they offer all those other options too. Check out these images of the other shields and sneeze guards, and follow the links to learn more.

The Driver Bubble™ Standard Shield

The Driver Bubble™ Flex

The Driver Bubble™ Sneeze Guard

For quality, variety, affordability, reliability, and design, Driver Bubble™ has got it going on. Check out the company’s website, and take advantage of some of the deep discounts that are available.

Driver Bubble is also offering drivers 10% off their purchase when you use the code GRIDWISEOFFER.

Do it fast! We want you to drive and deliver, but only with the very best protection from this great company, Driver Bubble™.

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