Travelling in a car has become a basic necessity of life for many of us, and most of us ensure that our car is cleaned every morning before we start our day. However, statistics show that a car interior is 55% dirtier than a phone and its handbrake area has 200 living bacteria per square inch. Floor mats, driver’s seat, steering wheel, door handles, space between the seats, AC vents etc are major areas where bacteria and viruses happily settle and can turn the most fun ride into a dangerous stunt. Here are some other ways a car can turn into a major health hazard.
AC – A Bane: The closed AC vents are a favourite habitat for germs. Mold grows if our AC vent or its attached component remain damp, and the mold spreads by the AC’s blowing air. If the air recirculation function is not used, then we also get exposed to external contaminants in a small enclosed area. Prolonged exposure can lead to allergic reaction, be it throat and eye irritation or skin rashes.
Running the AC blower for 10 minutes without vents on is helpful. Also, ensure that the cabin air filter is changed when necessary.
Life-threatening car cleaners – A shiny car signifies an owner who takes a lot of pride in his set of wheels. However, a car that’s too shiny can pose danger to the occupants as sometimes the cleaners used in garages contain toxic chemicals. Opting for natural cleaners is an environment and human-friendly alternative. After cleaning the drive for some time with windows down to expel the odour of chemicals.
Leg and Hip Pain – Sitting for a long time while driving or travelling in a car causes severe hip and leg pain in many people due to pressure on the sciatic nerve. The forward leaning posture and prolonged steady position while driving can also cause back and neck pain. Frequent stops with sufficient stretching and walking are advisable during long road trips.
Traffic and the thought of travel increases anxiety – Thinking of the daily commute to the work place can lead to feelings of anxiety and frustration in some. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, continuous honking, and non-compliance to traffic regulations by others can aggravate the anxiety and stress. Besides creating a chronic mood fluctuation, daily travel can also have a negative impact on enthusiasm and functionality, resulting in depression. Using a carpool or listening to music or podcasts can help reduce anxiety. So can planning your trip to avoid traffic.
Road Rage – A stand still traffic or a rift with another driver on the way or road conditions often test our nerves. When such incidents are frequent we can lose patience and end up with reactions which impact our health badly. A simple understanding of the fact that we can’t change anyone other than ourselves is helpful. So learn to stay calm and take deep breaths in such situations.