Can I car share in lockdown? The rules on car sharing with other households under the new Covid-19 regulations

How the latest guidance on travel affects those who buddy up for travel

Car sharing is allowed if there are no alternatives
Car sharing is allowed if there are no alternatives

As new restrictions in England and Scotland mean that the whole of the UK is now essentially in a nationwide lockdown again the rules around travelling have changed once more.

People are being instructed to stay at home unless their journey is essential and to keep travel to an absolute minimum.

This includes requiring people to work from home wherever possible. However, if you cannot work from home, you can still travel to work but should avoid using public transport if you can.

If you must car share during lockdown you should try to share with the same people every time

For people who own their own car those rules makes things fairly simple but for colleagues who usually car share with others it leaves a question of whether they can still do. Following the latest changes to the restrictions authorities around the UK have updated their guidance for those worried about car sharing under the current nationwide restrictions.

Can I car share?

According to the Department for Transport, car sharing is now not allowed in England except in certain specific circumstances, which match the rules for other indoor gatherings.

The latest DfT latest guidance states: “If you are car sharing then you must not share the car with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. For example, if car sharing is reasonably necessary as part of your work.”

This is echoed by authorities in Scotland, Nothern Ireland and Wales, which also ackowledge that it may still be necessary for some people to car share with members of other households for essential travel.

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What precautions should I take?

If you are car sharing with a member of another household there is a series of steps you should take to lessen the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

The advice recommends sharing with the same people each time and keeping to small groups.

You should ensure there is good ventilation, ideally by opening the car windows, keep journey times as short as possible and avoid physical contact between you and other passengers.

Drivers and passengers should all wear face masks unless they have a medical reason not to.

The guidance also suggests you try to face away from any other passengers and consider seating arrangements to put as large a distance as possible between each passenger.

You should be aware of the surfaces you or others touch. If people from different households use a vehicle, you should clean it between journeys using gloves and standard cleaning products. Make sure you clean door handles, steering wheel and other areas that people may touch.