According to the Centers for Disease Control, temperatures inside a parked car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open. In just 20 minutes, with an outside temperature of balmy 80 degrees, the heat in your car can rise to a sweltering 118 degrees, making your steering wheel, seat belts and gear shift too hot to handle.
If you've been burned by a hot car one too many times, Jeff Rossen, NBC News National Investigative Correspondent and host of Rossen Reports, saves the day with simple techniques to keep your hands (and the rest of your body) safer and cooler this summer.
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Do This When You're Ready to Park
- Find a shady spot. This one's a no-brainer: The more shade, the lower the temperature in the car. You can also use a sunshade inside the front window to block the direct sun. You can find these at auto parts stores, big box stores and many gas stations.
- Re-position the steering wheel. Take the wheel and turn it 180 degrees. It won't be exposed to the sun and will be easier to handle when you get back into the car.
- Cover the gearshift. Take a drink cooler — yes, the kind that you'd use on a beer can or bottle — and put it over the gearshift. It won't be exposed to the sun and it won't burn your hand when you try to shift into drive.
- Cover the seats. Keep a few towels in the trunk and use them to cover seats, infant and child car seats and belt buckles to keep them cooler and to avoid burns.
Do This When You're Ready to Drive Off
- Stash a spray bottle of water in the car. Yep, it's going to be warm, but it doesn't matter. Simply spritz the water on the hot dashboard, console, steering wheel, belt buckles, etc. to make those hot surfaces cooler.
- Open the windows and blast the AC. Leave the windows open for a few minutes, even after you drive off, to force out the hot air.
Get into the habit of using these simple strategies and you'll be back on the road faster (and pain-free!) all summer long.
For more tips like these, click here to pre-order Jeff's new book 'Rossen to the Rescue.'