If you are living in the Northern Hemisphere, then you are currently living through the dead of winter. For some people, this means heavy snowfalls and scraping ice from your windshield every morning. While living in an area with a freezing white winter has many positives, like beautiful scenery and a feeling of coziness indoors, it also requires you to face a few extra challenges in the colder season. One of them is paying attention to what’s inside your car.
When left in a freezing cold car for hours, some items can get damaged or even ruined, and sometimes even become downright dangerous to use. In the list below, we rounded up 6 things you should never leave in your car during the cold winter months.
If you take guitar or violin lessons, for example, make sure to take your instrument inside with you after each lesson rather than leaving it in the freezing car. Extreme cold can be very damaging for them, causing a range of issues. Without getting too deep into the scientific details of it, the longer your musical instrument stays in the cold, the more it shrinks.
If you play a woodwind instrument, then you may notice more squeaks after leaving it in the cold. If your woodwind instrument uses reeds, they will be harder to work with and sound “dry." In case the instrument is made of genuine wood, the cold air can lead to cracking, which is very expensive to repair. Brass instruments are not safe either. Guitars and other string instruments will drift out of tune more frequently, as the tuning slide can get stuck. To avoid costly repairs, or even needing a brand new instrument, simply avoid leaving them in the cold for too long.
If you decide to pick up a carbonated drink on your grocery store trip, be careful not to leave it in your car for too long, especially not overnight. As they freeze, pockets of carbon dioxide can build up pressure and cause the can to explode. “Frozen soda can explosions are not due directly to water expanding as it freezes, but to the resulting pressure put on an isolated pocket of CO2,” according to LiveScience.
Not only can this result in a big mess, but it can be dangerous, too. If the can explodes near you, or worse, in your hands, it could result in injuries.
Like liquids, the food inside cans can also expand when frozen. This may cause the can to swell to the point that some of the seams come apart, allowing the potential for bacteria to get in.
If you did happen to forget a few groceries in the car overnight, it might be possible to salvage the food. If the cans are merely swollen - and you are sure the swelling was caused by freezing - the US Department of Agriculture recommends placing the can in your fridge to thaw before opening. However, if you notice it looks strange or smells funny once you open them, throw the food out immediately. You should also toss any swollen cans that have been sitting around for a while ― don’t take any chances.
If a visit to the pharmacy is on your list of errands for the day, make sure to bring your medication inside with you, especially if they are vital ones you must take every day. The wrong storage temperature may alter medication and render them ineffective and even harmful. Pharmaceutical manufacturers recommend most of their products be stored at a controlled room temperature of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees Celsius), Skye McKennon, clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy told the New York Times.
For patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease, a damaged dose of a crucial medicine can be life-threatening and compromised antibiotics can cause stomach or kidney damage. It’s important to prevent liquid medications, in particular, from freezing.
Letting shelled eggs freeze is not a good idea, according to the USDA. When the liquid inside the egg becomes frozen, it expands and can crack the shell. Once the shell is cracked, it isn’t safe to eat anymore.
Even if the eggs don’t crack after freezing, they probably won’t be so tasty. Hard boiling them is your best shot; any other cooking method will result in a thick and mushy yolk that won’t blend with the rest of the egg properly.
It’s pretty well known that exposing a smartphone to extreme heat can cause permanent damage like shortening the battery life and more. However, many people don’t realize that exposing your device to very low temperatures can be just as harmful to its performance. The recommended temperature range for using your outside is 32 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (0º to 35º C). Anything below or over these temperatures could shorten the battery life and even cause your device to shut off.
We all forget our phone in the car sometimes, and if it happens to you, don’t fret - it will usually return to normal after being in an ambient temperature for a little while. Just try to make it a rare occurrence.
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