A heat wave is sweeping the U.S. In not less than 16 states, temperatures rose higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius on July 21. Some 60 million residents were affected. That temperature swept Newark, New Jersey, for five straight days, from July 20 to 24. The National Weather Service (NWS) stated it was the longest stretch ever.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Center for Environmental Information noted that in the week that ended on July 25, 359 records for the highest daily temperatures were either set or tied. Temperatures are predicted to rise even more by the NWS.
Americans must know the dangers of extremely high temperatures and how to take precautions against the situation. This article will also discuss ensuring that your vehicle stays cool for your safety and well-being.
Dangers of Extremely Hot Weather
Extremely high temperatures can be dangerous. When you are on the road, you must ensure that you and your passengers do not suffer from heat illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These can happen if the body is unable to cool down.
Watch out for heat exhaustion symptoms in yourself and your companions. These include profuse sweating, dizziness, and headache. You may get nauseous or vomit. You may feel weak or even faint.
It is essential to immediately go to a cooler place. If the vehicle is hot, this means stopping at the nearest air-conditioned place. If there is none nearby, a shady area cooler than the car’s interior will do. Drink something that is not alcoholic and preferably does not contain caffeine and too much sugar. Plain cool water is best. If the symptoms do not abate, get medical help.
Even more serious is heat stroke. This condition can be fatal; hence, it is an emergency situation. The person will have hot and dry skin that turns red. The body temperature will be high, and the pulse will be rapid. The person may have a headache or feel dizzy or confused. At worse, the person may fall unconscious.
Immediately call 911 and bring the person to a cooler place. If the person can drink, give cool water or other fluids that are not alcoholic. It is best if they are also not caffeinated and too sugary. Lower the body temperature with a sponge bath.
Keeping Your Vehicle Cool
The best way to avoid heat illness is to prevent it. When you are driving in extremely hot weather, take steps to keep the car’s interior cool.
First, do not park in direct sunlight if possible. If you have to, use a sunshade for the windshield and windows. This will help deflect the heat. Tinting your vehicle windows to the extent allowed in your state will also decrease the amount of heat that enters. Use a steering wheel cover to protect your hands from the hot steering wheel.
Second, open the car doors for a few minutes before you get in to allow the hot air to escape. If this is not possible, at least open the windows when you first get in the car. Do not wait until the car is hot to do this, as it will be more difficult to cool down the interior at that point.
Third, use the air conditioning (AC) in your vehicle after the hot air has escaped. Close the windows when you turn on the AC. If you have a newer car, set the AC to recirculate mode so that the cool air does not escape and is used to cool the car’s interior more efficiently.
Ensure that your AC is always in good working condition by having it regularly checked at your auto shop. Do not wait until the AC breaks down in the middle of a trip. Choose a shop that has high-quality auto air conditioning tools to do a thorough job quickly.
Fourth, do not leave anyone or any pet in the car, even for a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can increase by 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more in 10 minutes. In an hour, it can be much hotter.
Wear light and loose-fitting clothes on your drives. This will help you stay cooler. If possible, avoid dark colors as they absorb heat more. Finally, keep a first-aid kit in your car along with supplies like cold water, hand towels, sunscreen, and lip balm. Put the water in a container that will keep it cold. These can help you deal with heat exhaustion or heatstroke if they occur. By following these tips, you can keep yourself and your vehicle cool in summer weather.