You might love the idea of taking a short or even long nap inside your car, especially if you're tired during a long journey.
However, medical experts have strongly advised against sleeping in vehicles with the engine on, even with the windows slightly wound down.
This is because sleeping inside your car is not as safe as you think, and could even lead to death!
This, tragically, is exactly what happened to three college students in Penang, who fell asleep in their car with the engine running - all three of them died, while a fourth person remains in intensive care.
Got your attention?
Alright, so let's talk about the reasons why sleeping inside the car is dangerous.
Respiratory specialist, Dr Kow Ken Siong says sleeping in the car with the AC on, windows closed and engine running is bad.
This is because the air is recycled and engine fumes can enter the car.
Engine fumes contain carbon monoxide, which is odorless, but can cause you to pass out or even lead to death when inhaled in excessive amounts.
So how exactly does carbon monoxide kill you?
When you inhale excessive amounts of carbon monoxide from engine fumes, it displaces oxygen from the blood and deprives your vital organs from getting the oxygen that it needs, which can lead to death.
Fortunately, there are some subtle signs you can look out for, to alert you to potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
They include headaches, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
But if this is the case, why don't we suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning when we're stuck in a traffic jam, for example?
Well, under normal driving conditions, carbon monoxide expelled from your car will quickly dissipate to safe levels, provided the exhaust system is in good condition.
So what should you do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?
- Avoid running your car inside a garage or any other enclosed space.
- Don't sleep inside your car with the AC and engine running.
- Regularly inspect and repair your exhaust system (leaks in your exhaust system can allow carbon monoxide to enter your vehicle).
- Also, regularly inspect your emmission system and make sure your engine is properly tuned.
If you're tired, just get yourself checked into a hotel, or if you REALLY need to nap in your car, find a safe area, turn off the engine and roll down the windows slightly to ensure the cabin is well ventilated.
Safety always comes first. Stay safe on the roads!
by Roshini Ravindran