Traffic jams can wipe out our nerves and make us lose hours and more hours a week without doing anything more productive than listening to the radio.
However, that is trivial if we consider that, in the middle of the traffic jam, the particles in suspension are many, and that above all we are victims of them if we are inside the car, where the air does not circulate as much as outside. Pollution levels are 40% higher inside the vehicle in a traffic jam than if we are driving.
Better to close the window?
These are the data produced by a recent study carried out by researchers from the University of Surrey (United Kingdom). So what can we do to avoid so much pollution.
Simply close the car windows and turn on the air fan so that exposure to toxic gases is reduced by 76%. Conversely, if we turn on the air vent then the interior is even more polluted, because the outside air is sucked inwards.
It is also effective to turn on the fans in the function of recirculation of the air inside the vehicle, because thus no contaminated air from outside. In the words of Prashant Kumar, from the University of Surrey, and lead author of the work:
Whenever possible, one of the best ways to limit exposure to the contaminant is to keep the windows closed, the fans off and try to increase the distance with the car in front of you at a traffic jam. If you need to have the fan or the heating on, it would be best if the air recirculates inside the car without sucking air from the outside. Of course, improving the efficiency of vehicle filtering systems in the future could further contribute to reducing road exposure in such situations.
The World Health Organization has placed outdoor air pollution among the top ten health risks facing humans, linking with seven million premature deaths a year. The risk lies mainly in the so-called fine particles.
Image | Sean MacEntee