Driving Safe: The Danger of Keeping Aerosol Cans in Your Car

Exploding air freshener

Do you keep an air freshener or hairspray in your car? If these products come in an aerosol can, it’s time you removed them out of your car before you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Aerosol spray cans are pressurized canisters that are known to explode when exposed to extreme heat, that’s why manufacturers warn users of these cans not to throw them into an open flame, even when empty. Two recent incidents outline the dangers of having these everyday items in your car..

The case of the aerosol air freshener

Exploding air freshener ©metro.co.uk
Last July 16, Sunday, at a pub in Shrewsbury, England, a man in his early 20’s named Joe suffered minor burn injuries after an aerosol-filled can exploded in his car. According to reports, Joe sprayed the aerosol air freshener in his vehicle, after which he proceeded to light a cigarette. The aerosol spontaneously exploded, blowing away the windshield and leaving the passenger door hanging from its hinges. Despite the heavy damage on the car, Joe managed to escape with just minor burns to his head, legs, and arms. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. A spokesman for West Mercia Police said, “It is believed to have been caused when a lighter was in contact with an air freshener, that had been sprayed moments earlier within the vehicle. This damaged the vehicle and led to the windscreen being forced 75 feet away from it.” Sergeant Col Robinson, of West Mercia Police, added “This appears to be an isolated incident and did not cause any danger to the wider public. However, this shows the potential dangers that can be caused by spraying aerosol cans within confined spaces.”

The case of the aerosol hair spray

Exploding hairspray ©kgw.com
Karmen Ayres, a Vancouver woman, fared much better than the Englishman. Earlier in May, Ms. Ayres walked out to her car from work and saw that her windshield broke and something was protruding from the glass--her aerosol hairspray. Ayres said that she had left the can in her car on the back passenger side seat. “At first I looked up, because I thought maybe something fell,” Eyres said. “But then I noticed it was from the inside out. I was in shock and then I realized what it was.” Reports said that environmental temperature in the area reached around 90 °F (32 °C), which made it conducive for such an incident to happen. Eyres said she didn’t intend to leave the hairspray can in her car, and she was thankful that she wasn’t in the car when it exploded. Eyres works as an insurance salesperson, and says she’s heard of objects exploding in a heated car, like soda cans, wine bottles, and even loaded guns. Even so, she was surprised at the force that her hair spray broke through the windshield. "It launched like a rocket,"Eyres said. For your safety, don’t keep any aerosol cans in your car. Likewise, it’s highly recommended that you open the car windows and let some of the fresh air inside the car before turning the car on, especially if you parked your vehicle directly under the sun.

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