Everyday Things That Get Dangerously Hot in Extreme Heat

It’s not just hot lately — it’s blazing hot. This month, the U.S. reached record-high temperatures, with thermometers hitting the triple digits for several days in a row. We know the air is hot, but what about everyday things we interact with? As the temperatures continue to soar, be cautious of certain heat conductors you use daily. Anything that can absorb sunlight on a hot day could become dangerous to touch because it can reach temperatures that are higher than the air. 


Pavement: Whether it’s a sidewalk, driveway, or road, pavement easily soaks up heat and between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. can get as hot as 140º F in extreme temperatures. At 118º F, you can sustain first-degree burns, while second-degree burns can come at 130º F. 


Railings: Whether the railing is made from aluminum, copper, or iron, metal is a heat conductor and it will get just as hot as the temperature coming from its heat source — in this case, the sun. While a railing won’t get as hot as a frying pan on a stove, it’s going to be unpleasant to touch, so proceed with caution. 


Patio Furniture: Unless your patio furniture is protected underneath some type of shade, it’s likely going to be hot to sit on. Benches and chairs made from plastic, marine grade polymer, aluminum, vinyl, wrought iron or steel can reach 104º F to 136º F under the scorching sun. Consider keeping them covered while you’re not using them. 


Steering Wheels: If you’ve ever grabbed a hot steering wheel when entering your car, you know it’s not a pleasant experience. The surface temperature of a steering wheel on a car that’s been parked in the sun for as little as one hour can reach 127º F, while seats can reach 123º F and dashboards a scorching 157º F. To prevent injury, consider using a sunscreen to protect your interior from direct sunlight.