Ridesharing protocol

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This protocol is a draft. It has not yet been accepted as protocol and may be incorrect or poorly cited. Please do not use this in your work until it has been accepted.

Please see #protocols on Slack to discuss this protocol further.

This page is specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our covid protocol still focuses on somewhat older science relating to droplet transmission. We are currently reviewing this. It will be updated rapidly.

This is a protocol for situations when you need to share a car during the COVID-19 pandemic with someone who is not a member of your household.

When should you be ridesharing?

  • You should only consider ridesharing if there is no other way to achieve an essential task such as...
    • Providing care for someone
    • Going to work
    • Attending an essential appointment
    • Leaving an unsafe situation (eg domestic violence)
  • This list is non-exhaustive and there may be circumstances not on this list where you will need to ride share
  • You should not rideshare if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • However, when assessing the risks you should be mindful that the disease may still be transmitted by people who have no symptoms

Before your journey


  • Consider if there is any safer alternative way to carry out your task
  • Consider whether or not anyone else needs to come, in order to limit the number of passengers
  • Discuss risks and hygiene procedures with your household to check how comfortable everyone is with the potential journey
  • Discuss risks with the people you will be ridesharing with and check that you are all comfortable with each other’s understanding of hygiene procedures
  • Plan routes to be as quick as possible, while considering rest breaks for access reasons
  • Prepare journey to minimise the need to fill up petrol - consider a separate trip to petrol station before your ridesharing journey.


  • Clean frequently-handled areas of the vehicle with bleach solution, warm soapy water, or anti-microbial disinfectant, e.g.:
    • Outside/inside door/boot/trunk handles
    • Steering wheel
    • Gear stick and handbrake
    • Digital/radio controls
    • Seatbelts and seat belt fastenings
    • Window controls
  • If using bleach solution,
    • Mix 1 part bleach to 50 parts water
    • Prepare this no more than 24 hours before you use it, as the active ingredient degrades rapidly.
    • Wear gloves to protect your skin when applying
    • Air the vehicle well during and after cleaning
    • Do not apply to seats, as it may damage the fabric/leather
  • Remove rubbish such as empty drinking bottles from the car

What to take

  • Take hand sanitizer if you have any
  • Prepare face coverings:
    • use surgical masks if widely available, otherwise use tightly-woven cotton fabric
    • bring a change of mask/face covering if you have one, especially if your journey will last more than 2 hours.
  • If you may need to eat or drink on the journey, take paper towels to lay your mask on
  • Take disposable bags to store used masks and other potentially-contaminated items

During your journey

  • Put on face coverings and wash hands before entering the vehicle
  • Seat yourselves as far away from each other as possible
  • Open all windows as widely as possible. In bad weather, leave them open as far as you can, and open them fully at regular intervals.
  • Keep your faces directed towards the open windows as much as possible, especially if you feel you are going to cough or sneeze.
  • Talk only when necessary during the journey - talking will increase the number of infectious particles you may emit. [1] [2]
  • Do not use air-conditioning or heating systems which recirculate air from inside the car: this may spread infectious droplets throughout the vehicle [3]
  • For drivers - when your windows are open, maintain as much distance as possible from cyclists and pedestrians, 2m at absolute minimum
  • Considering playing music or a podcast as a form of entertainment, in lieu of prolonged conversation!

Rest breaks and food

  • Limit time spent at petrol stations and motor services, if you cannot avoid these.
  • Use hand sanitiser after any essential stops where you cannot wash your hands.
  • If you need to eat something, try to do so during a rest break outside the car, or with the car doors open.
  • If you do have to eat while inside the car, make sure that you are facing an open window.
  • Remove face coverings fully to eat or drink, rather than pushing them up or down. (See instructions below)
  • Immediately store all used food and drink packaging, tissues, wet-wipes, etc in a disposable bag

Face coverings

  • If you must remove your face covering to eat, or for any other reason:
    • Use hand sanitiser before and after you remove your face covering, or wash your hands if you are at a rest stop.
    • Handle used face coverings by the ties/earloops only. Do not touch the face area.
    • If possible, store the used face covering in a bag and put on a fresh one after eating.
    • If you will need to put the same face covering back on, place it on a disposable paper towel or tissue, outer side facing down.[4]
    • Make sure you put it back on with the same side facing outwards.
    • Sanitise/wash your hands before and after you replace your face covering,
  • Change your face covering every 2 hours, or more frequently if the fabric has become damp with moisture from your mouth.[5]

After your journey

Make sure everyone has safely entered their homes/destinations before driving away Wash your hands after leaving the vehicle, before removing your face covering Wash your hands again after removing your face covering Follow hygiene procedures of your household when returning

Clean areas of the vehicle that are likely to have been handled on the journey, using bleach solution or soapy water