Temperatures are really warming up again this weekend with highs expected to hit the 80s and 90s. The heat presents many hazards for us, including extremely hot vehicles.
We have the strongest sunshine angle of the year and direct sunlight penetrates through car windows. We in turn have the “greenhouse effect”. Short-wave radiation from the sun passes through the car windows and the energy is absorbed by the interior (dashboard, seats, etc.). It is then emitted in the form of heat. Long-wave radiation cannot pass through car windows, so heat builds up, and it builds up quickly.
Outside temperature of 80:
10 minutes, 99 degrees inside the car
20 minutes, 109 degrees inside the car
30 minutes, 114 degrees inside the car
40 minutes, 118 degrees inside the car
60 minutes, 123 degrees inside the car
Outside temperature of 90:
10 minutes, 104 degrees inside the car
20 minutes, 119 degrees inside the car
30 minutes 124 degrees inside the car
40 minutes, 128 degrees inside the car
60 minutes, 133 degrees inside the car
This type of heat is deadly, which is why you should never leave children or pets inside a car, even for a short minute. According to National Highway Safety Administration23 children died from vehicular heat stroke in 2021.
Keep in mind that rolling the windows down does not cool the parked car sufficiently. Even leaving the air conditioning on is dangerous if the child or pet is alone in the car as they may accidentally turn it off or start the car.
When temperatures start to rise, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do to keep you and your loved ones safe. Here are a few tips.