Is it necessary to use a face mask in a private vehicle?

Unfortunately, face masks have become the fashion accessory of the season (and probably of others to come). It has gone from being a recommended element to an obligatory one at public places in many of the countries ravaged by the pandemic. 

Many of the things we do outside the home (and sometimes inside it) will now have to be done wearing a mask.

Since the start of March, its use in public and collective transport has been obligatory throughout Spain. But what about private travel?

 

A badly placed mask that interferes with the driver’s vision, or impedes undivided attention, can be considered a serious offense by article 18.1 of the General Traffic Regulations.

If the driver is alone in his car, he doesn’t have to use a mask. However, he does have to do so if there are one or more passengers, unless of course they are members of his own family or if they all live together. In these latter cases, no more than two passengers can sit in each row of seats in vehicles that have room for up to nine places, as long as each one wears a mask.

In vans or vehicles that have only one row of seats, there can be just two passengers, as long as they wear masks and try to keep as far apart as possible.

If a driver is wearing a mask, it’s important that he do so correctly. In no way should it interfere with his vision. (This is especially true if he or she wears glasses, because they can steam up.) And care should be taken so that the mask doesn’t move or fall off, because this can be a distraction from driving.

This is no small matter. A badly placed mask that interferes with the driver’s vision, or impedes undivided attention, can be considered a serious offense by article 18.1 of the General Traffic Regulations. This involves a fine of around 80 euros. 

And what about gloves? Although they are indispensable for health professionals and for carrying out some other activities, the authorities feel that if used generally they could give a false sensation of security. That’s why they advise frequent hand sanitizing instead of wearing gloves, something that also applies when driving.

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