sunrise in orange sky

By Anh-Minh Le

Although we’ve still got a couple of weeks until summer officially gets under way, warmer temperatures have already arrived—at least in the San Francisco Bay Area. For those of us who spend a lot of time in our cars, the heat can make long commutes even more unbearable. Here are some ways to stay cool, especially if you prefer to keep your air-conditioning usage to a minimum (since running the a/c can reduce fuel economy):

  • Keep a cooler handy, filled with not only water to help you stay hydrated, but also soft-gel ice packs that can bring soothing relief in a toasty vehicle. Throw in some refreshing snacks—like fruit and salads—while you’re at it.
  • We all know that we should stay hydrated, but it’s easy to forget to do something as simple as drink water. Enter the WaterIn app, which is available for iPhones and Android. It serves the basic function of reminding you to drink water.
  • There are a number of small battery-operated fans on the market that give off a nice, gentle breeze. O2COOL makes clip-on and standing versions. Bonus: They’re portable so you can even bring them along to the job site (in case you’re working in a stuffy or hot environment).
  • If you’ve got your window rolled down, at the end of the day, you may find yourself with a sunburn. So remember to keep sunscreen as well as other useful gadgets in your car. Also, while most windshields and car windows are treated to filter out ultraviolet light, even in an enclosed vehicle, UVA rays can still potentially damage skin.
  • Take a look at your clothing and consider changing things up for the summer months. For example, wearing moisture-wicking pieces, lightweight fabrics, and lighter hues. Looser fitting attire can also be more comfortable. If you’re dealing with scorching heat, perhaps this vest, which features panels that hold ice, is worth checking out!

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