Summer heat presents all types of hazards in regards to sensitive items and chemicals that don’t like extreme temperatures. In some scenarios, dangerous items have warnings posted on them because they may burst, explode, or have an otherwise unfavorable affect that can be harmful to people or surroundings. This is especially true when certain items are contained inside a car, where heat is even more prevalent because it can’t escape. Temperatures can rise to 140 degrees or more within an hour-and-a-half.
See why these 10 items are dangerous inside a car on a hot summer day and why it’s best to keep them out when temperatures get over 120-degrees.
1 – Lighters. Lighters are filled with flammable liquid. They aren’t meant to be exposed to extended sunlight or escalating temperatures. If they’re left inside a car on a hot summer day, they can explode and cause damage to the interior by leaving behind particles or burning holes.
2- Pens. These small objects can burst and leave ink all over the car. Cleanup can be a challenge, leaving stains everywhere.
3 – Batteries. Heat can make acid in batteries prone to leaking. If this happens, acid can cause people to have eye, skin, and respiratory infections.
4 – Electronics. Memory cards and lenses on cameras may get ruined if exposed to prolonged heat in a car during the summer. This can be costly for the owner.
5 – Canned carbonated beverage. This is a sneaky one that can be left in a car on a hot summer day without realizing it. This goes for beer as well. Cans can roll under a seat, hide in a trunk, or get lodged under a floor mat. If left inside the vehicle in blistering heat, a canned carbonated beverage can blow up. Since these canned items are compressed to keep air locked inside the container and maintain bubbles in the soda, there is no way for heat to escape.
The metal in the can conducts heat into the liquid inside. A rise in temperature on the outside of the container will also result in a rise of the liquid’s temperature inside. Liquid components expand as heat spikes and that causes undue pressure inside the canned beverage. The car’s motion will shake the soda around, leading it to explode. Not only can this do damage to your car, but it can inflict serious injury on the driver or passenger.
6 – Milk. A closed gallon or half-gallon of milk left exposed to the hot elements in a confined car will cause it to explode. This will leave a horrendous stench and mess that isn’t for the faint of heart.
7 – Wine. Wine shouldn’t be left in heat greater than 78-degrees because it not only changes the composition and complexity of the liquid, but a cork could pop out of it, or the bottle can explode.
8 – Perishable foods. While many of these may not explode, unlike milk, perishable foods should not be left inside a car over an hour in 90-degree heat, according to the USDA. Food can be dangerous to consume after that time.
9 – Hairspray and sunscreen. Women may carry a can of aerosol hairspray in their car, in addition to touch-up with makeup. While cosmetics may get sticky and melt, hairspray is a dangerous item to have inside a car. If temperatures reach above 120 degrees, the pressure inside the container will build-up and explode. It’s not just hairspray, but other aerosol canister products that will explode in a car (WD-40, Fix-A-Flat, etc.).
Sunscreen is useful to have in a car during the hot summer months, but the plastic bottle an quickly heat up and burst, leading to a sticky mess that may never be completely cleaned up.
10 – Explosive medications. Certain medications and supplies are dangerous inside a hot car. Albuterol inhalers, for instance, shouldn’t be in temperatures above 120 degrees or they may burst. Formoterol inhalers have the same impact. Any medication available in an aerosol can may burst as well under these temperatures.