2020 has left us, and 2021 is at the door, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, so those that still need to travel for work, or who want to get away in an acceptable socially distanced hike or outdoor activity, have been curious about whether it is still safe to rent a car during a pandemic. This is a legitimate concern for many people, especially if they are immunocompromised in any way, but you’ll be glad to know that, when it comes to renting a car from a rental company, the risk of COVID-19 exposure from the surfaces in the vehicle is very low.

Surface Contact COVID19 Risks in Rental Vehicles

When it comes to contracting the COVID-19 virus in your body, you have to remember that the virus must be able to make it to your respiratory system, whether it is through breathing in droplets that have the virus, or getting the virus into your eyes, nose, or mouth through contact with your hands after they’ve contacted surfaces that have the virus present. Not only that, but a sufficient number of viral molecules must make it into your body in order for you to become infected; a mere few are unlikely to be able to reproduce enough before being eliminated by your body’s defense system.

While the surfaces in a rental car during the COVID-19 pandemic are being wiped down and disinfected by rental car companies, many may still worry that not enough is being done to truly disinfect the surfaces. COVID-19 on surfaces has a half-life of only hours, not days, however, which means that, if the car has been sitting around for a couple of days between renters, the risk is going to be practically zero. Even then, if you are using a rental vehicle that was last rented only a day previously, you would need to touch sufficiently COVID-19 coated surfaces to be able to pick up any viral material on your hands, then you would have to rub your hands in your eyes, nose, or mouth to transfer sufficient viral material to even have the risk of being infected.

Minimizing the Risks of COVID-19 Contraction When Renting a Car

Your biggest risk when it comes to contracting COVID-19 when renting a car is going to be during the face-to-face interactions with rental staff. So, to minimize your risks, you should always keep a minimum 6-foot distance from any staff members, if possible, and you should always wear your mask, whether it is a homemade mask with filters installed, or an N95 mask. Most likely, rental car companies will also have clear plastic installed at storefront reception desks to minimize risks. Between any touch interactions, such as signing papers, or being handed the keys, you should disinfect your hands with a hand sanitizer as well.

After you have received your rental car, you can always choose to do some disinfecting yourself. Immediately roll down your car windows to refresh the air within the vehicle, as most likely an employee did have to be in the vehicle to deliver it to you, or at least to move it around the lot or between locations. Once you have opened the doors, use spray disinfectant or wipes to wipe down any high-touch surfaces, such as the wheel, dashboard, door handles, dash controls, and seats. Throughout this process, and while renting the vehicle, wash your hands regularly, and still avoid touching your face whenever possible.

While the COVID-19 virus is still a large issue worldwide, when it comes to renting a car, the risks are very low, so it is still considered safe to rent a car wherever you are travelling to, and Avalon Transportation takes your safety very seriously for all your rental needs.