7 COVID Safety Tips On Cleaning A Car

We’re all trying to do our best to make it out of the COVID-19 pandemic without getting sick. Because there can be some conflicting information out there, it can feel confusing to know which steps to take to stay virus-free. One of the places where you spend a lot of time but might not think about disinfecting is your car. Here’s some information on decreasing your risk of contracting COVID, as well as COVID safety tips on cleaning a car.

How can I reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?

The virus is easily transmitted from person to person, so you should make sure you’re taking a number of precautions to decrease your chances of getting sick.

Wear a mask

The easiest way you can keep yourself and others safe is to wear a mask. At this time, some health experts have recommended that people double up on their masks for maximum protection. Always carry a mask with you whenever you’ll be outside your home; you can even stash a few extras in your car so you’ll always have one on hand.

Stay socially distanced

Stay a minimum of six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household. Keep your distance when running essential errands or if you’re working outside your home.

Only interact with people who live in your household

While the pandemic is still in full force, it’s best to only come into contact with people who live in your household. That means that you should place any plans on hold of getting together with friends or non-immediate family members. If it’s a necessity for you to see these people, stay outdoors, keep your distance, and leave your masks on the entire time.

Dr Handicap - masks
Image by Mike Baumeister on Unsplash: Wear a face mask whenever you’re out in public to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

Limit unsafe activities like dining or being around groups of people

High-risk activities, such as gathering in groups or dining inside, should be avoided until your state has lowered their case rates and hospitalizations.

Get the vaccine as soon as possible

The vaccine is your best shot at keeping yourself safe from the virus. Check out how your specific state is handling vaccines so that you’ll have more information on when it’s your turn to get vaccinated.

How can I keep my vehicle safe?

If you’re like most Americans, you probably spend quite a bit of time in your car. Despite your best efforts to keep it clean, you’ll want to take extra precautions during this time to keep your car germ-free. Here are a few COVID safety tips on cleaning a car effectively.

1. Wear masks and use hand sanitizer

If you’re in the car with anyone else living outside your household, make sure to wear masks the entire time. You’ll also need to use hand sanitizer frequently to cut down on the germs on your hands.

2. Provide good ventilation

To minimize the spread of germs, try to have good ventilation in your vehicle with open vents and windows. Having better air circulation can be a simple way to stay safe.

3. Limit food and drink intake

If you’re traveling with other people outside your household, you’ll want to skip eating and drinking in the car since you’ll need to take your masks off to do this.

4. Wipe down touchscreens

Newer models of cars all come with touchscreens, which can be breeding grounds for germs. If possible, use voice commands so you don’t have to touch the screen or have anyone else touch it. You should also regularly clean the touchscreen (most people recommend using a cloth with a mixture of 30% water and 70% isopropyl alcohol). Don’t use any harsh chemicals that might damage the screen.

5. Clean the inside of your car with disinfectant

How should you clean and disinfect surfaces in your vehicle? Make sure to clean your car using disinfectant wipes or sprays as often as possible (at least daily if you have the time). There are some commonly touched areas that are even more important to clean, including door handles, seat belts, the parking brake, the steering wheel, the turn indicator, and the trunk lid. Giving your car a good scouring should help give you a little bit more peace of mind.

Dr Handicap - cleaning supplies
Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: Use cleaning supplies to help sanitize your car as frequently as possible.

6. Get your car detailed

If you want a professional to handle the cleaning, take your car to a car wash to get detailed. Sanitizing your car with high-quality cleaning products can get rid of germs more effectively.

7. Make sure your car is in tip-top shape

Car maintenance during coronavirus is absolutely essential because you don’t want to worry about breaking down somewhere or having to enter any unsafe situations. Take your vehicle for regular maintenance (oil change, brake check, etc.) to ensure that you won’t have to make any unexpected visits to crowded repair shops or dealerships in the near future.

There are many steps you can take to make sure that you’re less likely to contract COVID. To keep your car in perfect condition, focus on upkeep and cleaning it as often as possible. This can help ensure your vehicle is clean and safe whenever you get behind the wheel.

Featured image by Hedgehog Digital on Unsplash

Alcohol & Driving: How To Make Sure You’re On The Right Side Of The Law In Every State

As a driver, it is your responsibility to make smart and safe decisions every time you get behind the wheel. You follow the rules of the road such as the speed limit, parking restrictions, and so on, so what about when it comes to alcohol and driving? There are many laws in place that you should be following anytime you imbibe alcohol (or other substances that might affect your driving abilities). Here’s a rundown of what you need to know to stay safe.

Is it illegal to drive with any alcohol in your system?

In most states, you are permitted to drive with alcohol in your system if it’s at a very low level. However, if you are acting impaired or are making poor decisions behind the wheel, you can still be penalized even if you’re under the legal limit.

Many states have Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws that help law enforcement and prosecutors determine whether you were unable to operate a vehicle safely because of alcohol intake. This especially comes into play if you’re involved in an accident where someone has been injured or killed.

Is drunk driving illegal in all 50 states?

At this time, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in all 50 states. In order to avoid fines or jail time, you must have a lower BAC when you’re tested (either in the field or at a police station). At a 0.08% level, drivers are so impaired that they’re 11 times more likely to have a single-vehicle car accident than drivers with no alcohol in their system.

Dr Handicap - driving car
Image by Hannah Sutherland on Unsplash: Drunk driving laws by state can vary, so look up regulations in your home state.

Alcohol and driving: rules to know

Here’s what you should know anytime you’re going to be drinking and driving.

The nationwide legal limit

As mentioned above, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.08% or higher on a Breathalyzer or a blood test. Typically, a single drink is either one shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine, or one beer (which all contain about the same amount of alcohol). A 120-pound woman can reach a 0.08% after only two drinks and a 180-pound man can reach it after only four drinks. Keep this in mind when you decide to drink before driving – you can become impaired fairly quickly.

Your specific state’s legal limit

Aside from the nationwide legal limit, there can be drunk driving laws that vary by state. These different laws can impose more regulations regarding impaired drivers. For example, Arizona has the standard 0.08% BAC limit, but drivers can also be charged with Extreme DUIs for having a BAC over 0.15% or Super Extreme for having a BAC over 0.20%. These come with much higher penalties.

Your best bet is to do some research on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website for your particular state. Becoming educated can help ensure that you’re never breaking the law when you get behind the wheel.

Driving restrictions when traveling to other states

If you’re going to be traveling or driving in a state other than your own, it can be helpful to look up their specific laws and regulations as well. This can help you understand what is legally permitted in that particular state before you travel there.

The consequences in your state

The consequences of drinking and driving can vary greatly depending on the state you’re driving in. Some states have more stringent laws than others. Let’s look at California, for example: a person convicted of a DUI here faces imprisonment in a county jail for anywhere from 96 hours to six months and has to pay a fine of $390–$1,000. Their license can be suspended for six months. A second DUI is even more serious, with jail for 90 days to one year, a similar fine, and a license suspension for two years. Each DUI after that gets increasingly severe punishments.

If you’ve been in an accident where someone was hurt (or even killed), the consequences are much more dire. California also has strict penalties for drivers who drive drunk with minors in the car. It’s vital to make sure that you fully understand what could happen before you get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

Dr Handicap - breathalyzer
Image by miguelrd68 on Pixabay: If you’re suspected of driving under the influence, police can do Breathalyzer tests on the scene.

How to tell your own limit

Alcohol can have varying effects on a person because of different metabolisms, body chemistry, weight, etc., so you should become very familiar with what your own limits are. You might feel impaired after just one drink; it’s quite possible for your reaction times to slow after this amount. Therefore, you should understand your own body and make appropriate choices to ensure the safety of yourself and everyone else on the road.

You don’t have to get behind the wheel after you’ve had a drink. Remember that getting a ride from Uber or Lyft or calling a cab can be a much smarter way to go if you’ve been drinking. Always make the safest decision so that you’re not endangering yourself or others. Know your own limits and research the laws in your state, and you’ll be able to stay safe and on the right side of the law!

Featured image by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

What Color Is A Permanent Handicap Placard?

If you’re new to the world of disabled parking permits, you might be unaware of some of the rules and regulations surrounding them. Although each state might do things a little differently, there are some similarities around the country. If you have questions (such as “What color is a permanent handicap placard?”), read on for more information.

What is a permanent handicap placard?

A handicap placard is issued by each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when an individual has proven that they have a disability that limits their mobility. In order to receive a placard, you must fill out an application from the DMV and be evaluated by a medical professional. During this medical certification process, your doctor will determine whether your disability is a permanent or temporary one.

Some examples of permanent medical conditions can include:

  • Not being able to walk more than 200 feet without needing to stop and rest
  • Not being able to walk without the use of a brace, cane, crutch, prosthetic device, wheelchair, another person, or other assistive devices
  • Having a respiratory condition that restricts breathing to such an extent that your forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one liter or the arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 MM/HG on room air at rest – this can include conditions such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer, etc.
  • Needing to use portable oxygen
  • Having a cardiac condition that limits your functionality and is classified in severity as Class III or Class IV, according to the standards set by the American Heart Association
  • Being severely limited in your ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition
  • Being certified legally blind
  • Missing one or more limbs, which impairs your mobility

Your doctor must certify that you have one of these conditions and that you could benefit from having a handicap placard. A permanent placard in most states is blue. It’s generally valid for two to three years before you have to go through a renewal process.

Dr Handicap - doctor with phone
Image by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash: You must visit a medical professional (or connect to one through Dr. Handicap) to get certified for a temporary or permanent placard.

What is a temporary handicap placard?

If you have a temporary handicap placard, it’s because your doctor has recommended that you only receive a permit for a short period of time. This length of time differs from state to state, but generally is for up to six months. At the time it expires, you’re required to renew another temporary placard or have your doctor certify that you need a permanent one. Temporary disabilities can include things like pregnancy, a broken leg or foot, or recovering from surgery.

What do the different colors of handicap placards mean?

Each state can do things a little differently, but for the most part, if you see a blue handicap placard, that means the person has a permanent parking permit. Other colors include:

  • Red placards – for people with temporary disabilities
  • Light-blue placards – for disabled individuals who require the use of a wheelchair. People who have these types of placards can park in wheelchair user only parking spaces. They’re generally issued for permanent disabilities.
  • Green placards – these are a little bit rarer to spot. But if you come across one, it means that the placard has been issued to an organization that transports disabled individuals; these users also need access to handicap parking spaces for their passengers.

How can you get a handicap parking permit?

If you’re wondering how to get a handicap placard, you can find all the information you need at your local DMV office. There should also be information available at your state’s DMV website. First, you’ll need to verify that your medical condition will qualify you for a disabled parking permit. After you get the medical certification from your doctor, you’ll be able to complete your application and send it in, either by submitting it online or mailing it in to the DMV.

Once you have your placard in hand, you’ll have immediate access to designated handicap parking. It’s important to note that you can never lend your placard to anyone (even friends and family). The placard is only usable if you’re a driver or passenger in the vehicle that’s parked.

Dr Handicap - laptop
Image by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash: Head to your state’s DMV website for more information.

There are many benefits to having a temporary or permanent parking permit. Some states offer additional perks (such as free on-street metered parking) to those with placards, so make sure to find out what your specific state offers. As long as you remember to keep your placard up-to-date and renew it whenever it’s close to expiring, you’ll be able to use your parking permit to get convenient access to close parking places.

Featured image by IanDScofieldWriter on Pixabay

Can I Drive After Getting A Vaccine?

The COVID-19 virus has impacted pretty much everything about our way of living, so it makes sense that the vaccine is so important to moving our country towards a return to normalcy. But because there hasn’t been a mass vaccination effort of this magnitude in recent years, it seems most people are left with many questions about the vaccine. You might be wondering, “How do I get a vaccine appointment?” or “Can I drive after getting a vaccine?” Here’s a breakdown of some common questions about the vaccination process.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The coronavirus vaccine, currently being distributed by two drug companies called Pfizer and Moderna, consists of two shots that you need either three or four weeks apart (depending on the manufacturer). The shots are administered in your arm, just like a flu shot, by a medical professional or pharmacy worker.

The vaccine was developed to help give people immunity to the coronavirus, and it went through multiple clinical trials to ensure its safety. It’s believed that the vaccine is effective in up to 90–95% of people. That means that only a small percentage of individuals who receive the vaccine will end up contracting the virus in the future. The vaccine also helps to make it so that if people do contract the virus, they won’t end up being as severely affected by it.

Dr Handicap - COVID vaccine
Image by CDC on Unsplash: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one way to protect yourself against contracting the virus.

Who can get a vaccine?

The vaccine manufacturers have done successful clinical trials on adults age 18 and up, so anyone who’s not a child or younger teenager can benefit from the current vaccine options. There are still trials being conducted to see whether the vaccine is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Right now, most states have begun to vaccinate their frontline healthcare workers and their elderly population (typically over 65 years of age). It will likely be several more months before the general population will have access to the vaccine.

Where can you get a vaccine?

At this time, the rollout of the vaccine to US citizens depends greatly on the specific state you live in. Some states, such as California, have implemented drive-through vaccinations at locations with large parking lots (such as Dodger Stadium) so that people can get in and out quickly.

Head to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to get directions on what sites to head in order to get an appointment for a vaccine if you’re in one of the eligible categories. Those sites can be divided by state or even by county; they’ll inform you what locations near you are distributing the vaccine and how you can sign up for an appointment.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause side effects?

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re wondering what to expect after the COVID vaccine. Firstly, it is extremely rare for anyone to have a serious reaction to the vaccine (especially if you’ve never experienced negative reactions to other vaccines in the past). In a few very rare cases, people have gone into anaphylactic shock and needed to get a dose of medicine from an EpiPen and visit a hospital.

For most people, side effects are milder and can consist of a slight fever, headaches, and chills. Some people will experience pain or swelling at the injection site. Typically, the pain is similar to what you feel after getting a flu shot. In most cases, these symptoms will dissipate within 24 hours.

Is it safe to drive after getting a vaccine?

For most people, driving after getting the vaccine won’t be a problem. At most vaccine sites, they’ll have you wait around 15 minutes before leaving to make sure you’re not having any side effects from the shot. However, if you’ve had allergic reactions to prior vaccines, you might want to have someone else drive you, just to be on the safe side.

Dr Handicap - mask
Image by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash: It will be important for people to continue to wear masks in public for the near future.

What can I do to stay safe from COVID before and after getting a vaccine?

Before and after getting your vaccine, it’s essential that you wear a mask when out in public and keep social distancing (at least six feet away from people outside your household). It will take a large percentage of the population to be vaccinated before there’s any kind of herd immunity, so we’ll all definitely need to continue being cautious until this happens.

Find out more about getting vaccinated by going to the CDC website or your specific state’s health department website. Don’t forget to report any negative side effects you might experience to your doctor, and then keep wearing a mask for the near future, even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What Is Handicap Accessible Parking Abuse And How Can We Stop It?

While most people use handicap parking spaces legally with a valid disabled parking permit, there are still folks out there who perform handicap parking violations. This can be done in a range of ways, but mainly consists of people abusing the privilege of handicap accessible parking spaces. As frustrating as this can be, there are some actions you can take to report and end these types of violations. Here’s some helpful information on what defines a handicapped parking space and what you can do to stop permit abuse.

What is a handicap parking place?

Designated disabled parking places are set aside for individuals who have a specific medical condition that makes mobility difficult for them, as well as a special parking permit. These spots are positioned in key places in public parking lots at businesses, retailers, office buildings, etc., at the most convenient and accessible locations to make it easy for disabled individuals to access. The parking places are generally marked with blue paint and have a symbol of a wheelchair either printed directly on the ground or on posted signs.

Anyone who has a legitimate parking permit (obtained by going through the full application process with their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles) is allowed to park in these spaces. Parking in a handicap spot without a permit could lead to a ticket and/or a fine.

Dr. Handicap - handicap parking lot view
Image by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash: Handicap parking places are typically marked with blue paint and a wheelchair symbol.

What is handicap accessible parking abuse?

Disabled parking abuse occurs whenever anyone is misusing a handicap placard or parking without a placard at all. Anytime someone breaks the rules of the road or doesn’t abide by parking regulations, they’re abusing handicap parking privileges.

An individual is breaking the law if they:

Park in a handicap spot without a permit

Handicap spots are designated for disabled individuals and should only be used when a disabled person is a driver or a passenger of that specific vehicle. Parking in a handicap parking place without a permit clearly displayed is expressly prohibited.

Borrow someone else’s parking permit

Each permit is officially issued to a specific individual and cannot be lent out to anyone else (including friends or family). A handicap parking space can only be occupied if the disabled person is a driver or passenger of that particular car.

Use an expired or invalid handicap permit

Disabled parking permits have strict expiration dates on them. Individuals can be ticketed or fined if they try to use an expired or invalid permit.

Use a fraudulent permit

Any type of counterfeit or fake parking permit is against the law and should never be used to park in a handicap accessible parking space.

What can you do to stop parking abuse?

There are several ways to stop parking abuse from taking place. Here’s a list of how to report handicapped parking abuse:

Check your assumptions before reporting anyone

Before you report a possible handicap parking violation, keep in mind that you might not be able to tell if a person is disabled just by looking at them. Some individuals have what are called “hidden disabilities”, meaning their medical condition doesn’t have outward symptoms that are obviously noticeable, and they don’t require assistance in walking (such as with a wheelchair or cane).

Try to remember that you won’t always know if someone is using a handicap parking place illegally because you won’t be able to tell if they have a legitimate need for a parking permit.

Call law or parking enforcement

If you’re sure that someone is using a disabled parking space without a valid permit, contact your local law enforcement. Avoid using 911, as this isn’t an emergency situation.

By contacting local officials or a parking enforcement agency, you can offer the location of the parking place, along with information about the vehicle in question (like the make and model of the car and the license plate number). It’s typically not necessary for you to stay until law enforcement arrives – unfortunately, sometimes these types of calls cannot be prioritized.

Call city hotlines

Some cities have specific hotlines you can call to report parking issues, including handicap parking abuses. Make sure to have relevant information about the vehicle in order to help report possible illegal parking violators.

Dr Handicap - using phone in car
Image by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash: You have the option of calling law enforcement or parking hotlines to report handicap parking abuses.

Check with the DMV

Many DMV offices have designated departments that focus on handicap parking abuse. If you’d like to report a person who is parked illegally (especially if they do this often) or a person who is using a fraudulent or expired placard, you can reach out to your local DMV branch to make a formal complaint.

Report illegal parkers online

Because government agencies like local police and the DMV can be notoriously slow to act, you might want to take another avenue of reporting. HandicappedFraud.org allows you to submit a complaint directly on the website, and then the relevant information is handed over to state agencies like the DMV. All you need is the address of where the complaint occurred, the date, the car’s license plate, and the placard number (if they have a placard at all). This can be a great option if you want to submit a complaint quickly and easily.

Remember that it’s best to never get into any type of confrontation with a person you suspect is parking illegally. In the past, these kinds of altercations have even led to violence. If you feel reporting the individual is necessary, try one of the above steps instead of approaching the person directly. It’s a much safer option to just let law enforcement handle the situation.

Although handicap parking abuses occur all the time, there are some steps you can take to combat them. Just remember to always use your own handicap parking permit appropriately, and you’ll be able to protect the privilege of handicap parking.

Featured image by Leonardo Lameu on Unsplash