By now, you probably know that it’s extremely important to wear a face mask when you’re in public in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Studies show that wearing a mask can reduce your chances of catching the novel coronavirus by 65% and can also help prevent others from becoming infected.
However, there may be instances when wearing a mask can actually be harmful, such as when you’re driving alone in your car. Keep reading to learn more.
Spreading the Virus
Wearing a face mask in public spaces is critical in order to reduce everyone’s chances of contracting COVID-19. This is because the mask will catch a significant amount of the microscopic droplets that you expel when breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing.
Since the virus is spread through the transmission of infectious droplets, wearing a mask around others is vital. However, if you’re driving alone in your car or with others whom you are sheltering with, there is no sensible reason to wear a mask.
On the other hand, if you are a delivery or rideshare driver, wearing your mask at all times may be the right thing to do. Rideshare drivers especially should take caution since riders’ droplets may linger in the air for several minutes after they get out of the car.
You Can Put Yourself in Undue Danger
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you do NOT touch the mask while you’re wearing it, but many people do it anyway. Doing so while driving can create a manual and cognitive distraction behind the wheel.
When you become mentally distracted by the feeling of the mask on your face, you remove your hands from the wheel so that you can adjust it. This can be just as harmful as eating while driving, which is also not recommended.
These distractions can be exacerbated further if you wear prescription glasses or sunglasses. Most masks that are readily available do not offer a tight fit around the nose and do not provide an adjustable nose bridge. Because of this, your breath rises through the nose openings and fogs up your glasses. This visual distraction is not only frustrating but it is also very dangerous.
While wearing a mask in public is crucial, it’s important to remember to take it off when you get into your vehicle alone or with others in your household.