As we all know, winter has two sides: the Christmas-card wonderland of sled races, snowball fights, and beautiful scenery … and then there’s the nightmare of freezing temperatures, slippery roads, and soaked shoes.
Carefully preparing for and handling the latter is key to enjoying the former. To that end, USA Today has published a helpful guide listing eight common items that you should be sure never to leave in an unattended car for extended periods of time.
Here are the first four of the article’s warnings:
Apple advises against storing the iPhone or iPad at temperatures below negative-4 degrees, and they shouldn’t be operated at temperatures lower than 32 degrees. There are similar recommendations for Samsung phones and other electronics. Lithium-ion batteries popular in cellphones are the most vulnerable component to cold, USA TODAY reports. They can stop working in extreme cold but should be OK once you get back indoors. However, repeated exposure to subzero temperatures can cause problems.
Soda or beer
Water expands when it freezes. And for canned liquids under pressure, that can mean explosion. The freeze temperature for Coca-Cola is 30 degrees, and the temperature for beer that’s 5% alcohol by volume is 27 degrees (higher-alcohol beers freeze at lower temperatures), as NJ.com reported.
We put a bunch of cans of soda in an old station car in the frigid cold and waited for them to explode. Nearly 24 hours later… pic.twitter.com/0LhKnZvYGL
— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) January 7, 2017
Things contract when they freeze, so this can cause some instruments to go out of tune. More seriously, “damage can be done when an instrument shrinks as a result of the cold air. If your instrument is made of real wood, the cold air can cause cracking, which is very expensive to repair. Sometimes they are broken beyond repair,” according to The Real School of Music. If an instrument is left in a freezing car for a long period, try to make it warm up gradually.
Eggs shouldn’t be allowed to freeze in their shells; if that happens, throw away any cracked eggs. Keep the un-cracked ones frozen, and move them to the refrigerator before use. “These can be hard cooked successfully, but other uses may be limited. That’s because freezing causes the yolk to become thick and syrupy so it will not flow like an unfrozen yolk or blend very well with the egg white or other ingredients,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The remaining items on the list are canned foods, medications, loved ones, and a low gas tank. You can click on over to USA Today for their full explanations as to why, though most of this is pretty much just common sense — and if someone doesn’t already know that it’s dangerous to leave his or her kids or elderly parents alone and helpless in a freezing car, no single newspaper article will be enough to make that particular lightbulb go off.
The one item on this list I suspect will be easiest for people to overlook or not be aware of is the importance of keeping a gas tank at least half-full at all times, to keep fuel lines from freezing up. Under that headline, the piece also advises people to keep a close eye on their tire pressure, antifreeze, and other fluids.
Did you know all of these tips? Have you ever had to learn about any of them the hard way? Sound off below!