Hot Car Hazard: Spread Awareness and Save Lives

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baby in hot car looking through window

In July, summer temperatures are on the rise. This time of year, the interior temperature of a parked vehicle rises especially quickly. While hot, sunny days will likely motivate drivers to ensure their passengers’ safety, cooler days might create a false sense of security. Just how hot can my car get in 10 minutes? 

A busy schedule, forgetfulness, or another distraction could all contribute to a driver’s unwise decision to leave their child or pet inside a parked vehicle. When you’ve had the AC blasting, the last thing you would expect is for your parked car’s interior temperature to reach anywhere from 104-114 degrees in 10 minutes in typical summer weather. 

However, it’s true. Car temperatures rise dangerously and unexpectedly quickly. In order to save dependents like small children and pets from hot cars this summer, we must spread awareness about the heat hazard.

Dog staring out car window

Summer is not the only time the heat hazard exists. Even in “ideal” 70 degree weather, a parked vehicle reaches nearly 100 degrees in just 20 minutes. 

Parents and pet owners might assume that leaving a window cracked will help regulate the interior temperature of their vehicle. This is not the case. In fact, cracked windows are said to heat your car faster in the short-term. Why? 

A sealed car is heated through radiation. The vehicle gains heat by the sun shining through windows, and beating down on the car’s exterior. A car with cracked or open windows simply adds an additional heat source. The airflow from outside will heat a vehicle faster in the short-term. In the long-term, your car might be slightly cooler with windows left open. However, windows provide an escape for hot air only once the interior temperature of the vehicle is hotter than outside.

The bottom line is this: whether you open your windows or not, the temperature will rise rapidly. While there are some strategies to keep your car cooler, like the use of reflectors, these do not keep your car cool enough to provide an environment that will sustain life.

What Causes Hot Car Deaths?

Hyperthermia, or heat stroke, is caused by an extreme and rapid rise in body temperature. It is also caused by the body reaching 104 degrees and above. Many people know that jumping into a freezing body of water can cause hypothermia, as the cold shocks the swimmer’s body by rapidly decreasing their body temperature. Hyperthermia is the opposite. 

The most common misconception about hot car deaths is that those who cause them must have left their child or animal in a parked vehicle for a long period of time. This is not always true. The fact that a vehicle’s internal temperature can rise over 20 degrees within an hour shows how easily children or pets left inside vehicles can die from hyperthermia. 

See the chart below to determine how fast your car’s internal temperature can rise in this summer weather.

Interior temperature in car over time

Source: AVMA

Worldwide catastrophes such as the coronavirus pandemic are garnering lots of attention. However, we should also be attentive to tragically common causes of death such as the hot car hazard. Summer brings road trips, moves, and many day-to-day activities that can turn to tragedy. Spread awareness about the hot car hazard to prevent tragedy this summer.

Lamar Law Office, LLC often represents clients with wrongful death cases. We faithfully serve clients who have experienced the trauma of an unexpected or wrongful death by seeking justice on their behalf. Despite our efforts, nothing can make up for the pain of a lost loved one. That’s why we are motivated to spread awareness about the hot car hazard.

Consider sharing this article with your friends and relatives. Simple awareness can keep someone from making a tragic mistake, and even save a life. 

Sarah Scherer

Sarah Scherer

Sarah Scherer is a professional writer and marketer writing on behalf of Lamar Law Office, LLC.

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