With bitterly cold temperatures expected across much of Texas this week, hopefully you are taking steps to make sure your family, your pets, and your home are ready for the frigid weather. Before you settle in to ride out this winter blast though, you should check the inside of your car to make sure you didn’t accidentally leave something outside that could cause an expensive mess.
Here are some of the things you should NOT leave in your car when it’s freezing outside:
Drink Bottles & Cans
Ever stick a drink in your freezer to chill it quickly but then forget it’s in there? If so, you’ve seen that the contents inside will expand and can cause the container to burst. If you leave a forgotten drink in your car this week, you may discover a sticky mess the next time you go for a drive.
In 2016, the sheriff’s office in Lincoln County, Montana posted a warning on Facebook about this along with a picture of a CASE of soda no longer suitable for drinking.
Then in 2017, a television station in Spokane, Washington did an experiment to see what happened when several cans of soda were left in a car in freezing weather. A GoPro captured one can after another bursting and thanks to KREM 2 we can share that with you without having to damage one of our own cars.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service warns canned food can also swell in freezing temperatures. However, if you leave a canned item in your car, you don’t have to automatically toss it into the trash. If the can has not rusted or come apart at the seams, the USDA recommends letting the canned item thaw in the refrigerator before opening. If the product’s appearance or smell isn’t quite right once open, then toss it. They add wrapping the item in plastic can prevent animals from later getting into the spoiled food.
Chances are your phone or tablet will be close at hand over the next few days, but you will want to make sure no other electronics are in your car. In Texas, we know a summer day in August can cause devices to overheat, but the freeze can also impact your battery life and your device’s response time. Several sources online indicate you’ll want to let your device warm up slowly to room temperature because a rapid rise could cause condensation that has the potential to be damaging.
This article from Wired.com talks about the cold and its impact on batteries, screens, and sensors during a freeze like we’ll see as well as MUCH colder temps often felt in other parts of the country.
Anyone keep a pair of glasses in your car? If the glasses in your car are the inexpensive kind you keep so you have a pair you aren’t afraid to lose, then don’t worry. But if your shades are special or pricey, be warned the freeze could damage the frames, glass, or even the coating on the lenses.
An eye care center in Colorado shared information on this as well as helpful tips for keeping your glasses from fogging up during cold snaps!
Insulin and other medications
Not all medications are sensitive to temperature, but many are, so make sure you understand how weather changes could impact your prescriptions. You don’t want to end up with ineffective meds which could also be difficult and costly to replace. If you are unsure about the safety of any of your medications after this winter weather event, you should contact your doctor or pharmacy right away.
So, maybe not many of us will have a guitar in the trunk, but if you happen to have a student in the orchestra, bring their violin or clarinet inside. The change in temperatures could cause significant damage to instruments made of real wood. Plus, this cold snap is a great excuse to stay inside and get some extra practice before that next recital.
We found this helpful blog from The Real School of Music explaining how extreme weather can impact instruments: Extreme Weather is Extremely Bad for Musical Instruments (therealschoolofmusic.com)