Summer sun heats up vehicle safety precautions

073016 CC Summer sun heats up vehicle safety precautions 1The dog days of summer are definitely upon us. Record heat in recent weeks has caused much of the nation to stay indoors with the air conditioner on high.

Since not everyone can stay home when the sun is on full blast, now seems like a good time to review a few key points of vehicle safety and the summer heat.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that a vehicle sitting in the sun on an 80-100 degree day can reach internal temperatures of 130-172 degrees. People, pets and a variety of items should not be left in the car when summer temperatures are on the rise.

It’s impossible to forget a chatty 10-year-old in the back seat, but such may not be the case for a sleeping baby or toddler. Unfortunately, I don’t have the end-all, be-all solution for this. I wish I did. Perhaps the best thing to do is simply get into the habit of scanning the entire car before opening your own door, no matter what the season.

If you’re anything like me, you have a dog who’s at the door faster than a Hellcat in the quarter-mile at the mere mention of the word “go.” During cooler months, we go everywhere together, but during the summer months, that’s not always possible. So we improvise with leisurely drives that have no intended purpose or destination, except to give him his favorite treat – a ride in the car.

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While these seem like obvious solutions, every year the news reports tragic deaths due to heat exposure in a vehicle.

The summer sun and a closed car can be detrimental in other ways as well. Have you ever been on your way home with a car load of groceries, only to realize you forgot an important item and dinner will be ruined without it?

A quick run back into the store, or even a brief stop at a convenient store can wreak havoc on the items you just loaded into your vehicle. Especially when that quick trip turns into a long wait at checkouts and you return to melted ice cream and half-cooked hamburger.

Let’s face it, warm milk may be effective in helping you fall asleep, but a gallon of it mid-day may be overkill … and poorly timed.

Don’t leave your sunglasses in a hot car either. Even if the frames don’t warp from the heat, grabbing them and/or putting them on when they’re hot, hot, hot is not likely to bear a positive result.

Remember, it’s not just what you leave in the vehicle, but also things like the steering wheel and seat belt clasps that can get overheated. Avoid getting burned by parking in the shade or a parking garage whenever possible, utilizing sun shades in both the windshield and rear window and keeping windows cracked.

Stay safe and cool this summer.