What's The Risk Of Driving to Visit Others?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 9:05 AM, Nov 20, 2020

As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk of driving to visit family or friends?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from driving to visit others is high.

"It's not what you do, it's how you do it. That really matters," Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said. "Driving in a car with your household contacts, that's no riskier than being at home with those folks. 

"The things where you may pick up some additional risk: if you have to stop and fill up for gas or use a restroom or use a restaurant along the way. Or if you have to stop in a hotel. Those are the activities where you really want to be careful about what precautions are in place and how you're limiting your exposure."

"Obviously, by wearing masks yourselves and using great hand hygiene and having hand sanitizer readily available with you while you travel, all will help decrease your risk," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine said.

"It's really the risk of what's going to happen once you get there. I mean, we've seen several clusters of cases in families where they've gotten together either for a wedding or some other gathering, and several members have gotten sick," said Dr. Irfan Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine. 

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit