On March 13, President Trump declared a state of emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. That day, there were 556 new virus cases. By July 16, that number had reached 75,687 new cases per day. It has yet to slow down — October 30 saw 99,784 new cases in a single day. With all this in mind, many folks wonder if they should wear a mask while driving. Here’s some insight to help clear things up.
The CDC advises against wearing a mask while driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have become a noteworthy resource for Americans this year. An organization that once worked behind the scenes is now a name worth spewing every time you’re fighting for folks to mask up in public.
But when it comes to driving in your car, the CDC says it’s not necessary. In their words, masks are necessary “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” This rings especially true in hotspots, AKA regions with rising cases.
Other reasons why you don’t want to wear a mask while driving
This morning I was driving and noticed the woman next to me texting while driving 70+ MPH.
She had a mask on though so we’re good.
— Pete (@PWilliamE94) October 25, 2020
It’s not just that it’s largely unnecessary, but to wear a mask while driving can cause safety concerns as well.
As someone who wears glasses, I know good and well the troubles that come with wearing masks. Your glasses fog up because your breath moves upward to get out of the mask, and sometimes it’s hard to find that sweet spot where you can maintain clear vision. Every now and then, I have to remove my mask and my glasses to readjust before my lenses stop getting foggy.
If this happened while driving, it could cause an accident. If I wasn’t wearing my glasses for a split second, or I was busy fiddling with my mask when I should have been paying attention to the road, I could get in a crash or hit a deer or experience any other unfortunate outcome. (Listen, I came unnervingly close to hitting a deer just last week, so I know the concern is real.)
Even if you don’t wear glasses, a mask could obstruct your vision on the road. Masks don’t cause breathing problems, but they might be a distraction when you don’t need one.
Are there exceptions to the rule?
It seems like there are always exceptions to rules, and this one is no different. Here are some instances when you might want to wear a mask while driving:
- You’re driving with someone else in the car who isn’t a part of your household. (PRO TIP: Keep the windows open and turn off the AC while you’re at it for extra safety!)
- You’re sick and driving with others in the vehicle (PRO TIP: If you can, rethink doing this at all — but I know it’s not always an option.)
- You’re really anxious about the state of the world and wearing a mask feels like a bit of control. No harm, no foul, right?
- You are making multiple stops close to one another and don’t want to have to touch your face.
I’ve reached the point in the pandemic where I’m too lazy to remove my mask and put it back on while driving around doing errands, so I just drive around wearing a mask until I’ve got no more stops.
— John Hale (@JohnHaleCrimLaw) October 25, 2020
If you’re on a road trip, beware of changing regulations
Driving across county and state lines could mean switching up your mask-wearing protocols. Be sure to do your research before any road trip commences. That way, you avoid blunders and keep those around you as safe as possible.