Global — Out of all the other means of transportation, cars are certainly the comfiest one of them all. You get your very own privacy, play your own music, and basically be the boss of your own ride. With that in mind, it’s no surprise why most of us (especially those who doesn’t own a car) would rather travel in a rideshare vehicle, a taxi, or a rental.

But as comfy as they may seem, several people have been in the same car as you – rolling down windows, buckling the seat belt, and literally using anything that needs to be used. Hence, these vehicles are far from perfect, and a recent study shows just how dirty these cars can be.

An insurance-shopping website called NetQuote decided to put these services to test by examining three ride-share vehicles, three taxis, and three rental cars. They then swabbed samples from seat belts, door handles, steering wheels, and gear shifts to find out how many colony-forming units (CFU) were present per square inch on each surface.

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The results of the study showed that rideshare vehicles such as Uber and Lyft yielded 6,055,963 colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch. Meanwhile, the rental cars had 2,000,510 and the taxis had 27,593.

Inforgraphic showing the number of colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch of ridesharing services, rental cars, and taxis. Photo taken from NetQuote.

While the number of subjects used for this study was quite a few, nevertheless, the results are alarming. Ridesharing cars are three times dirtier than regular cabs!

But perhaps the most disturbing part of the research is the type of bacteria found present in these vehicles. These germs include:

  • Bacillus (a type that can cause infections and food poisoning);
  • Cocci (which can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and blood poisoning);
  • Gram-negative rods; and
  • Yeast (which under the right conditions has the potential to cause skin infections).

And all of these can be potentially harmful to humans.

Moreover, window buttons had the most bacteria inside ridesharing vehicles, with 5,054,000 CFU per square inch. Seat belts are dirtiest for the taxicabs and gearshifts for rental cars.

Now that the information is out there, make sure to bring some hand-sanitizer whenever you get inside these vehicles. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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