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28 Jul 2020
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Safety tips for essential travel


Person driving a car alone

Lockdown rules differ for each country in the UK. Our advice applies to England, Wales and Scotland.

Remember: if you have symptoms of coronavirus, are self-isolating or are considered vulnerable, you shouldn’t be travelling.

Travelling to work is classed as essential if you can’t work from home.

Most authorities are encouraging people to walk, cycle or drive if they have to travel. Public transport is still available but is operating on a limited service. You should only use it as a last resort.

Using public transport could be a worrying prospect, so how do you stay safe? And what’s the best way to stay safe as a driver? We’re here to help.

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UPDATE: 27 July 

All passengers on public transport in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England have to wear face coverings.

How can I keep safe when driving?

Plan your route before travelling. In some areas, cycle paths and pavements are being altered to allow for social distancing. This could affect your journey time.

When travelling, give other road users – like cyclists and pedestrians – plenty of room.

If you need to stop for petrol, make sure you wash your hands before and after using the pump. Try and avoid using motorway services if you can.

Clean high traffic areas of your car regularly. These areas include the steering wheel, gearstick and door handles. 

Read more: Coronavirus: Impact on drivers and car insurance

Can I still car share?

Try and drive your own car, walk or cycle to work if you can.

If you have to car share, make sure you share the trip with the same people each journey.

When you’re in the car, try to maintain some distance between each other and keep the car ventilated. Face coverings are also advised.

Make sure to give the high traffic areas of your car a clean after each shared journey.

Read more: Car maintenance during lockdown

Can I still use public transport?

Most transport services are still operating, but travel times can change at a short notice to allow people to keep a safe distance apart.

There may be bus links between services to stop transport getting overcrowded, so it’s worth planning for this too.

Every bus and rail service will differ. Check your local transport website to see what their rules are.

Read more: £2 billion grant announced to improve green travel

Empty bus

How can I stay safe on public transport?

To keep safe, you should plan your journey before travelling.

Try and travel at off-peak times when the routes won’t be as busy.

Order tickets online through an app or a website and pay using contactless.

There will be times when you can’t avoid being close to someone else. But make sure you don’t make physical contact.

In situations like this, try and limit your time on busy transport. Could you change and walk the last few stops? Or switch and find an alternative way to travel?  

All passengers on public transport in the UK must now wear a face mask. If you want to know how to make your own face mask, visit GOV.UK.

As always, remember not to touch your mouth or face, and wash your hands after using public transport.

Different transport providers will have different rules to follow. When you arrive, follow the station’s guidelines and always respect the staff.

Can I get a taxi?

This depends on each taxi company. Before you travel, call the taxi service and see if they’re still in service. They will advise you on any safety measures that they have in place.

If you’re at a taxi rank, always maintain a two-metre distance from people.

If you’re sharing a taxi with another person, try and face away from them and limit the time you spend in this space. Make sure you wash your hands after touching any surfaces.

Further information 

Guidance on coronavirus is constantly changing. For more in depth and up to date information on essential travel, take a look at the England, Scotland and Wales government websites.


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