Sleeping in Your Car? Here Are Some Things You Should Know First

Recently, a tragic incident occurred where a woman was discovered deceased inside a parked car at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital. According to Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm Yahaya Hassan, the woman, who was caring for her hospitalized father, had been resting in the back seat with the windows closed.

“She was resting in the back seat without winding down the windows,” stated ACP Yahaya in a released statement, as reported by The Star.

The case has been classified as sudden death pending a post-mortem examination. A security guard at the hospital noticed the woman in the car and suspected that she was deceased, prompting a call to the authorities.

This unfortunate event brings attention to the topic of sleeping in cars and the associated safety considerations. Is it safe to sleep in a car with the windows rolled up?

Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed safe to sleep in a car with the windows rolled up while the engine is off. Cars are not airtight, allowing oxygen to enter the vehicle.

However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when sleeping in a car with the engine running. Rolling up the windows while the engine is running poses a significant risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas, is emitted by combustion engines and can quickly replace oxygen in the bloodstream, leading to severe health complications or even death.

While modern cars are equipped with catalytic converters to reduce carbon monoxide emissions, the risk of poisoning still exists, especially when sleeping in a running vehicle. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the windows slightly open if sleeping with the engine running, unless extreme weather conditions or safety concerns dictate otherwise.

However, if you own an electric vehicle (EV), you may sleep in with the air conditioning turned on. Why? Because EVs do not emit carbon monoxide because they do not have internal combustion engines like traditional petrol-powered vehicles. Therefore, there’s no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in an EV with the air conditioning running. Most EVs nowadays come with a feature called “Camp Mode” to allow you to get shut-eye. A professor stated on Quora that he slept in his Kia Niro EV for 10 hours! Even a YouTuber known as Bjørn Nyland has put this to the test by sleeping in various EVs.

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