Is it safe to drive my car during the coronavirus lock-down?

Should you go out in your car during the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, and does the advice on this differ for those who are in the most vulnerable groups?...

2020 BMW 2 Series 218i Gran Coupe driving

With the UK's coronavirus lock-down partially eased in England, anyone without virus symptoms can take an unlimited amount of daily exercise and drive to somewhere to do so. You can also use your car to get to work and to travel to buy food and medicine. However, when you reach your destination you need to maintain a two-metre gap between yourself and people who aren't from your household. 

Although you can drive to other locations, official guidance says that you should stay at home as much as possible, and local authorities are appealing to people not to flock to beaches and beauty spots because facilities such as toilets aren't open and many car parks are closed. There are currently fewer RNLI lifeguards at work around our coastline, so swimming in the sea is not as safe as it used to be. 

If you are planning on driving somewhere, check the availability of parking online in advance, and, if you expect the area to be busy, try to book a parking space before you set off. 

However, using your car is better than travelling on public transport because you won’t be in contact with other people unless you get out of the car. So, if you can't have food or medicine delivered, and you don’t have any Covid-19 symptoms, using your car to go shopping is a good idea. 

Before you get into your car, you should wash your hands thoroughly. And if your car is shared by other family members, before using it you should wipe down the door handles, steering wheel, gearstick and all other frequently used controls, including the touchscreen, with a cloth soaked in disinfectant, or with disinfectant wipes if you have them.


Remember that if you get out of the car you should try not to touch surfaces, and maintain a two-metre gap between yourself and other people. Before going out, check with the shops you're visiting what their policy is on interaction of people and what measures they are taking to minimise risks. 

We've heard of community shops that are offering customers who've pre-paid for food a service whereby they can drive to the shop's car park at a specified time and staff will put the pre-wrapped shopping in the boot of their car, so that there is no contact between customers and staff.

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Read more: all the latest coronavirus advice for drivers >>