Car sharing in England: what the latest rules say about sharing a lift

As England prepares to leave a four-week nationwide lockdown and return to a series of tiered, local restrictions, the rules around travelling have changed once again.

As previously, people in all tiers are being encouraged to work from home. However, if you cannot work from home, you can still travel to work but should avoid using public transport if you can.

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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 the Department of Transport has updated its guidance for those worried about car sharing under the current nationwide restrictions.

Can I car share?

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

It 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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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