Daily Traffic Alerts

Should You Wear a Mask While Driving?

a young male driver is seen through a car mirror wearing a medical mask
Shutterstock

Many states are encouraging that people wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic. This leaves some people wondering if they should also wear a mask while driving their car.

Wearing Coronavirus Masks While Driving a Car

Sgt. Brian Pennings works with the California Highway Patrol. He has a few words of advice on the matter.

“Well, in these present days and unprecedented times with COVID-19, it’s important to protect yourself with a face mask when you go out into public.

“It’s perfectly fine for you to wear a face mask while you drive. But, you have to understand, it cannot in any shape or form impede your vision. It also can’t compromise your ability to perceive and react to anything that happens in front of you.

“If it obstructs your view in any way shape or form, you probably shouldn’t wear it,” said Pennings.

“Often, what we see is drivers will drive with their mask around the neck. Or, when they go and exit their vehicle into the public areas, they will then lift the mask up and cover their mouth,” he said.

However, one driver was involved in a crash that resulted from wearing a mask for too long.

Driver Crashes Car While Wearing N95 Mask

The driver involved in a single-car crash in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. He was suspected to have passed out behind the wheel thanks to wearing an N95 mask for too long.

Lincoln Park Police quickly responded to the accident where the vehicle crashed bumper first into a wooden pole.

A Facebook post the department made about the crash read:

“The crash is believed to have resulted from the driver wearing an N95 mask for several hours and subsequently passing out behind the wheel due to insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake.”

Police Respond After Commenters Question the Crash

When commenters started to question the legitimacy of the images, the police responded:

“Considering the overwhelming response this post has received, the following should be said. As it relates to this specific incident, we reiterate that police officers are not physicians and do not know the medical history of every person we encounter…

“It was stated in the original post that we ‘believed’ the excessive wearing of an N95 mask was a contributing factor to this accident. While we don’t know this with 100% certainty, we do know that the driver had been wearing an N95 mask inside the vehicle for several hours and ultimately passed out while operating the vehicle.”

The police also stated that the driver wasn’t found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and reminded New Jersey residents to continue following the order from Gov. Phil Murphy that asks them to wear face coverings.

DJ Swanson

D.J. Swanson never planned to be a writer. His first job was working in his family’s autobody shop, but after studying English and journalism in college, he decided not to join the family business.

Instead, D.J. realized that he could make a difference by helping people learn how to maintain their cars and drive safely in challenging conditions. He is proud to share his lifelong knowledge of cars and driving here at Daily Traffic Alerts.

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