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Driving Smart: Things to remove from your car in the cold

When temperatures drop below freezing we often think about the things we need to keep in our cars in case of a cold-weather emergency, but what about the things that need to come out of the car?

Millions of motorists in recent weeks suddenly found themselves thinking about the things they needed in their cars in case of a cold-weather crisis. But what about the stuff you need to take out of your car when the mercury plunges?

Here are some things to remove from your ride in subzero temperatures:

- Your smartphone. Apple warns iPhone users, for example, that winter temperatures inside your car can dip below the -4 degree minimum the manufacturer recommends for storage of the devices. Below-freezing temps could shorten your battery life and cause the device to turn off — and possibly just when you need it the most.

- Canned beverages. If you’re tailgating at the football game the next day, you might be like, “You can put six of b… soda in here!” But if you load your car up with canned beverages the night before, and it gets below freezing, you may find yourself missing the big game to go have your interior detailed. See, if it gets too cold, the liquid inside those cans is gonna freeze and expand beyond the confines of the can, possibly even resulting in an explosion, which could be dangerous — but almost certainly sticky.

- Groceries. It may be tempting to bolt into the house and warm up after getting home from the supermarket on a frigid evening. But for the same reason as canned beverages, canned foods should be taken inside immediately or you may find yourself scrubbing pork ’n’ beans or Chef Boyardee off your upholstery. Similarly, the USDA warns that eggs can freeze, as well, and that eggs with shells cracked by the cold should be discarded.

- Your meds. Extreme temperatures, including cold, can cause medications to lose their effectiveness. According to the New York Times, these could include anything from insulin to “suspended medication” that must be shaken before it’s taken.

- Musical instruments. According to a report in USA Today, extreme cold could throw your instruments out of tune as they contract, while wooden instruments may crack beyond repair — and let’s face it, your kid’s playing sounds bad enough as it is.