Do you eat while you drive? Had a sneaky rummage through the paper bag as you leave the drive-through? Obvious distraction aside, there’s also hygiene to contend with as the steering wheel is a hive of germs; one which harbours more of them than even public toilet seats, according to Carrentals.com .

Measured in colony forming units (CFU), the average steering wheel has 629 CFU, roughly four times that of a typical toilet seat which comes in at 172 CFU. The report found that out of the 1,000 drivers surveyed, one-third responded as having only cleaned the interior of their vehicle once a year, with another 12% saying they have never cleaned the inside of their cars.

On mobile munching, 20% of the surveyed said they do so in their vehicles at least once a week, and the steering wheel is joined by the cupholder (506 CFU) and seat belt (403 CFU) in being among the most infected spots in a car’s cabin. Cars are at their most germ-laden after a long road trip, the report said.

CAPITOL-NASI-DAGANG

If you must indulge onboard, best clean up after.

These drivers “likely never considered just how many germs are crawling over the surfaces of their cars, or where they are coming from,” the Carrentals.com report said. When, then, do all these germs come from? The biggest source of germs for drivers’ hands is likely to the the fuel station, when contact is made with the pump nozzles.

“Compared to other public locations where the CFU count was in the hundreds, the average gas pumps measure in the millions,” it said. “While these numbers are extremely high, not all bacteria found at gas pumps are dangerous. However, some bacteria, like Staphylococcus (sometimes referred to as “staph”), are responsible for a multitude of complications like skin infections, food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome,” it added.

The takeaway here? Try to keep food consumption in your car to a minimum, though if you must, remember to give the interior a thorough clean afterwards.