Here Is a Reasonable Compromise on Masks

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Yesterday, I was driving to pick up something from my wife while she was in the middle of shuffling kids to and from after-school activities. A short trip back down the interstate toward home and I had to pass someone who was going 55 mph in the left lane while in a 70 mph zone. It infuriated me.

Now, I hate to stereotype people, but as I got beside the driver I saw he was white with a shaved head and wearing a mask. While alone in his car. Like a madman.

The topic of masks and masking up is controversial, and there is plenty of debate going back and forth on the issue. I think, though, that this is perhaps some common ground both sides can come to: You don’t need to be wearing masks in your car when you’re alone. It is disturbing behavior and it needs an intervention.

I know that COVID-19 has been traumatic for a lot of people. Just about everyone in the country was affected or knows someone who was affected by the virus. As a result, several reporters and talking heads – along with a government that is far too eager to seize control and promise to fix your problems for you – are in near hysterics over whatever new variant starts appearing. They publicly shame anyone and everyone who questions masking or outright refuses to do it.

Just ask this trusted source on COVID-19 prevention.

Andrew Cuomo, mask enthusiast.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool

But while there is debate they wish to have over appropriate masking in social settings, there is virtually no discussion over whether or not you need to mask in your car. Because that is very silly behavior and really people should know better. If you’re traveling far enough that you need to use the interstate to get from Point A to Point B, you definitely don’t need it. I might understand that, if you’re scared of the virus and visiting different, nearby locations, you just keep it on. But for a 10 or more minute car ride? No way.

Maybe you think the virus will sneak in through the windows. Maybe you’re afraid you accidentally brought some COVID-19 molecules in when you ran inside the coffee shop. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll give your computer navigation system a virus. I don’t know what the logic is, but this isn’t uncommon.

If you’re in the car with others outside your family and you’re worried, go for it. It’s your life. It’s your car. There are some studies on it (if you want to take them with a grain of salt, I won’t disagree). If it makes you feel safe, go for it. But if you’re with your immediate family, and you are with them all the time, there’s no need because if one of you gets it then chances are everyone’s getting something from you at some point.

There is a lot of behavior out there that is the result of fear of COVID-19. I feel for those folks, truly, because they are reacting to either what they’ve experienced or what they’ve been told by people they trust. But there is a fine line between precaution and outright paranoia. If you’re driving alone, stop wearing a mask in the car. You look silly.

In short, my reasonable masking compromise is this: Stop wearing masks in your car, especially if you’re alone. In return, I won’t judge you for driving 15 mph below the speed limit in the left lane. An Amazon truck overloaded with Christmas shipments passing you should be enough shame.