The harmful effects of heat in the car: it is as if you were driving drunk

As summer approaches, the high temperatures are everywhere.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 May 2023 Monday 22:27
12 Reads
The harmful effects of heat in the car: it is as if you were driving drunk

As summer approaches, the high temperatures are everywhere. At home, in the office, on the streets and, of course, inside the car, where the interior thermometer can reach very high records when parked on the street during the hottest months of the year. And getting behind the wheel in such a heated environment is not good. In fact, a study by the Fesvial Foundation ensures that it increases the risk of having an accident, since the heat has direct effects on the behavior of drivers and their psychophysical abilities.

The report goes a step further and maintains that a passenger compartment at more than 35ºC represents a danger similar to that of being under the influence of a breathalyzer of between 0.5 gr/l and 0.8 gr/l. "At that temperature it has been verified, for example, that approximately 20% of traffic signs are not perceived and serious errors by drivers increase by up to 35%," says Luis Montoro, professor of Road Safety and president of honor of Fesvial.

This expert indicates that the sensation of heat generates greater irritability and aggressiveness, which in the case of drivers translates into an increase in violations, especially those related to speeding. Clashes with other road users are also becoming more common.

On the other hand, driving becomes more clumsy and distracted, so it is easier to make mistakes and oversights that can have dangerous consequences. Something that is more risky when feelings of tiredness and fatigue appear.

High temperatures can generate a drowsy state that reduces the driver's reflexes and increases their reaction time to unexpected situations. More oversights are committed and less attention is paid to information that comes from abroad. For example, you tend to look in the rearview mirror much less.

In short, many of these symptoms could be equated to those presented by a person who has exceeded the maximum blood alcohol level. That is why, in the hottest season of the year, it is recommended to take extreme precautions when traveling in order to do so safely.

According to Montoro, one of the best remedies to alleviate the heat on road trips is the air conditioner. “Air conditioning began as a comfort element and today it can be recommended as a security element. It has been proven that in very hot seasons the possibility of suffering a road accident can decrease by more than 20%”.

It is also advisable to stay properly hydrated and make regular stops every two hours or so. It is advisable to avoid copious meals before getting behind the wheel, as they contribute to the body feeling heavier, generate more heat and, in addition, increase the state of drowsiness.