People’s car batteries are draining while waiting for Covid-19 tests

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Under the country’s current Tier 4 lockdown status, those in Auckland will be particularly familiar with the high number of Covid-19 testing stations that have been set up in the city; punctuated by huge lines of parked cars filled with close contacts waiting to be tested.

Wait times at these test facilities can be excruciatingly long, with some reports of wait times of up to 10 hours at some stations. These wait times have seen many cases of people draining their car batteries while they wait.

According to a report by Stuff, a Wellington test station reports around 10 cases of people with dead batteries every day. Other stations also referred to cars running out of fuel while waiting. Some now have riders on site.

The Wellington District Health Board recommended that those tested have enough fuel in the tanks of their cars.

Those who called AA to help them make their stationary cars mobile had to follow Covid-19 contactless protocols. This includes staying in their car, following directions, and respecting social distancing where applicable.

The unique scenario actually gives an advantage to those who have electric cars. These consume little power at idle compared to an internal combustion engine car, which must be cycled on and off for those who want to use in-car infotainment systems for entertainment.

For those preparing to brave a Covid-19 test station queue in the near future, we recommend bringing digital entertainment through a third-party device like a phone or tablet, instead of relying primarily on car systems.

On top of that, it’s worth bringing some food and, if you expect it to be cold, some extra clothes and blankets to keep you warm (the beats depend on the heating of the car). And be sure to visit the bathroom before disembarking.

You can also take a book or magazine with you. The August edition of NZ Autocar Magazine is available in supermarkets and gas stations across the country, if you like that sort of thing…


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