There have been too many instances this summer, and all summers, of children left in cars, under the blazing hot sun, windows barely cracked or not at all. Children have died. Pets have died. People don’t realize that car safety is more than just driving. It isn’t limited to your car in motion, or traffic accidents, or icy roads. Heat can be a death trap for your car, even when it’s not moving.
Whatever temperature it is outside, add about 30 degrees to that to gauge your car’s interior. And you want to leave a person in there? If you’re experiencing an especially hot summer, expect your car to exceed sauna temperatures. The temperature inside your car is always drastically higher than outside, because of something called The Greenhouse Effect..
Even if you’ve had your AC blasting the entire time, once you stop, the sunlight absorbed by your car’s surfaces will start emitting that energy back out. The carbon dioxide in your car will take that emitted energy, and absorb it, essentially trapping it mid-air. There is no escape for this deathly hot air considering the contents of your car, energy transfer and the smoldering sun. It hangs. Heavily. Add a human being to the mix, who also emits strong radiation, and you’ve got a deadly sweat box.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that an outside temperature of 60 degrees can easily raise a car’s insides to over 110 degrees. It is imperative that you remember this and act accordingly. Even in the dead of winter, leaving a living, breathing.. anything.. in the car by itself, is absolutely ludicrous. It is pure irresponsibility and ignorance. But sadly, it happens all the time. And sadly, the summertime, even with it’s scorching temps, is no exception.
I’s important to protect your vehicle, and anyone who goes into it, against the dangerous potential of the summer sun. Here are some tips for combatting those extreme rays and keeping your car cool:
They are like sunglasses for your car. They block the direct sun rays streaming in through your windshield. This helps keep the overall inside temperature low, so when you get in to start the engine, you’re not suffocated by a mini heatwave.
A great way to permanently block the sun, although a bit more expensive than sun shades. Before you take your car in to have the windows darkened, make sure you know your state’s laws, as some have restrictions on how much, or which windows, you can tint.
Find a spot in the shade, preferably where it won’t turn to sun again in a couple hours. This will keep your car cool. It will still be hot inside, but the absence of light will dramatically alter the inside temperature when you return to your car.
Leave your windows open just slightly – about half an inch. That way, there is not enough room for anyone to reach their hand in, but plenty of room for warm air to pour out, and fresh air to breeze through.
Leather seats can be brutal after simmering under a summer sun. For this reason, you might consider purchasing a vehicle with cloth seats instead of leather. For those who already have leather but need a way to keep it cooler, Cars.com suggests purchasing cooling gel covers. You can also try laying a towel down; this can provide some insulation between you and the seat.
To maximize your car’s cooling ability, turn the air on full blast as soon as you start the engine and slightly opening all of your windows until the air inside is cool.
Keep these tips in mind for safe driving this summer. Remember, accidents don’t always occur on the road. An overwhelming amount of heat and high temperatures can be fatal. Make sure you take the proper precautions against these heat waves to keep your car running smoothly, and the people inside of it alive! Call one of our Insurance Architects for more information on summer safety.