Have you ever wondered why you get an electric shock when we you exit your car? I have; many times, actually. It’s really annoying so I started to look into why it happens and what I can do to prevent them.
Why does this happen?
When you are sitting in the car, electrostatic charges are generated between the seat and your clothes due to the movement. This reaction is simple physics (remember the balloon experiment in science class?) and when you get out of the car, you take with you half of that electrostatic charge which raises the body voltage as you exit the vehicle. It’s not unusual to get up to 10,000 Volts! As you get out of the car and touch the metal door to close it, the discharge and shock occurs.
How can I stop the shocks from happening?
There are a few things you can do to avoid feeling the electrostatic discharge:
- - Hold on to the metal frame of the door as you exit the vehicle or rest your hand on the outside roof while still sitting in the car seat.
- - If you forget to hold the metal frame, touch the glass window first to dissipate some of the charge and avoid static shock.
- - You can also use your keys to close the door and you won’t feel anything.
- - Be aware that synthetic materials in clothes and shoes with foam soles increase the risk of static shock.
- - Use anti-static laundry spray on the car seats and floors.
- - Close the door with your knuckles, forearm or elbows as they are much less sensitive than fingertips.
Now for a serious safety tip: don’t re-enter your car while pumping gas because this can produce static electricity, which has actually caused small explosions at gas stations. Although not very common, there have been reported cases and the incidents have been increasing over the years.RSS Feed