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Clear plastic water bottles in hot cars are a fire hazard

We all know what we need to have on hand a hot summer trip: sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and a large water bottle to keep you hydrated. But did you know that one of these essentials can cause disaster if you leave it in your car? Well, time for a quick Jalopnik health and safety lesson after a Reddit poster was discovered the dangers of leaving a plastic water bottle in their car on a sunny day.

Posted by, WarningImBroken, moved to r/Wellthatucks topic to share the disaster that befell them when they left a water bottle in their car. They posted “I learned today not to leave a clean water bottle in my car on a hot day!!” accompanied by two pictures of their car smoldering.

It was a brutal sight, with the wheel molten out of shape, burned chairs and all kinds of metal objects exposed after losing their flammable surroundings.

At first, blaming the water bottle for such scorch marks seems like a pretty impressive leap. But frequency Have you heard of forest fires? caused by glass bottles left around in the wilderness? In the wilderness, the telescope magnifies the sunlight falling on the arid ground, which can ignite a fire.

How a water bottle can cause a fire in your car

The same principle applies to water bottles when they are left in your car. A clear bottle filled with water acts as a magnifying glass, able to focus the sun’s rays on a spot inside you, and if you’re really unlucky, could catch fire in your car.

That seems to be what happened to this Redditor, and it’s a phenomenon the fire department has repeatedly warned about as the warmer months arrive.

The Midwest City Fire Department even took to YouTube to highlight the dangers. In the video (linked above), MCFD demonstrates how a transparent bottle can ignite a piece of paper, and warns that they can do the same with other dry, flammable materials.

So while we’re explicitly not saying don’t take water with you on the road, you can trade in a clear plastic bottle you can buy at the store for an opaque reusable bottle. Or, remember to bring your bottle with you whenever you step out of the driver’s seat. The more you know.


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