Hot cars –an underestimated risk

04. Jul 2017 | Industry + More

It’s a sight you sadly see all too often: drivers who leave their dogs or even children in the car in spite of the blazing sunshine before claiming they “just wanted to fetch something quickly”. Hot cars – a risk which is easily underestimated, as cars heat up more quickly in summer than you may think.

With an outside temperature of 30 °C, a car can heat up to 46 °C within just 30 minutes in direct sunlight. This temperature range is already life-threatening. After around an hour, the temperature would already be as high as 56 °C. With higher outside temperatures, the level reached in the car within as little as 10 minutes would already be at a life-threatening level for children and dogs.

Life-threatening temperatures after just a few minutes

Yet the level of heat in cars can even pose a threat to life at considerably lower outside temperatures. At very mild outside temperatures of just 20 °C, cars can nonetheless heat up extremely quickly in direct sunlight: the mercury can hit a life-threatening 46 °C after 60 minutes.

Incidentally, it makes absolutely no difference whether one or several of the windows are opened a crack in this case. That’s simply not enough to ensure adequate air circulation and cooling!

Temperature development in a vehicle

In an emergency situation, passers-by are entitled to smash windows

In an emergency, passers-by are entitled to smash the windows if a child is left alone in a car in high temperatures. This classes as “emergency assistance”.

However, it isn’t just cars that are parked in the sun that can become a hazard. Generally speaking, the heat in summer can cause drivers to become tired and let their concentration slip. Health problems await and the risk of having an accident increases.

8 Tips for dealing with hot cars

  • Open the doors to ventilate a vehicle thoroughly before entering it.
  • Then close the windows and sunroof before activating the A/C system.
  • The air flow from the A/C system should not be directed straight at the body.
  • It is also important not to cool the vehicle interior down too dramatically, thereby causing the difference between the inside and outside temperature to become too high.
  • Ideally, temperatures should lie between 21 °C and 23 °C.
  • Park in the shade.
  • Avoid the heat around midday.
  • Undertake longer journeys with the car in the morning or evening.