As lockdown restrictions continue to ease across the UK, motorists will be using out cars a lot more.

But drivers are being warned of 20 items that could pose a serious risk when driving and are being warned to clean them out of their vehicles.

Experts at Tyre Runner collated a list of 20 things which should not be left in the car, including summer-specific items, everyday gadgets, food and drink, health related items, and family specific examples.

Bryan MacMillan of Tyre Runner said: “Now that restrictions are easing, and with another bank holiday just around the corner, many people are planning to travel out of their local area to make the most of the long weekend.

“However, after our drive our vehicles can end up packed full of rubbish, stuff we’ve forgotten about, or items we think might come in handy sometime.

“While for the most part it’s just a case of making your car look a mess, several items can actually be very dangerous if left in your car, and some of these might surprise you…”

He added: “We hope this information provides insightful for drivers across the country – please do keep this advice in mind on your next road-trip, whether that be popping to the local shops or travelling slightly further.”

Here is a list of items you should clean out of your car immediately:

Summer specific

  • (Sun)glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Damp beach items - such as swimsuits and towels

Now that restrictions are easing, many people are organising beach trips, picnics, and BBQs to catch up with family and friends while enjoying the lovely Spring weather.

However, while clearing out your car after a day in the sun is often the last thing on your mind, it can be very important.

For example, the active ingredients in sun cream can break down in high temperatures, reducing the efficacy of the protection, so should not be left in the car for prolonged periods of time. Instead, sun cream should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Everyday items

  • Electronics - Battery powered devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.
  • Handbag / wallet

Many know that leaving valuables, such as your phone or laptop, in your car is a theft risk, but few are aware that leaving your electronics in your car on a warm day can also cause damage to the devices themselves.

Heat can affect mechanisms, such as battery and processing chips, in your electronics, so keep them on your person where possible, or at home for added security.


  • Aerosols (pressurised cannisters)
  • Lighters
  • Batteries
  • Plants
  • Make-up
  • Candles

Even mild temperatures can kill some plants within hours, causing them dehydration and stress. If you have multiple errands to run, save buying plants for the last stop of the drive so that you can bring them inside as soon as possible. Keep shaded and cool whilst in the car.

Some make-up products, such as lipsticks, will melt at temperatures above room temperature. Lotions and liquid, cream or oil-based products can also start to break down in high temperatures, so should not be left in your car, especially in warm weather.

Food and drink

  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Plastic bottles

It can be easily to let litter pile up in your car… however, it can be fatal in some cases. For example, high temperatures can cause plastic bottles to deteriorate, causing a release of a toxic chemicals (BPA and phthalates) that can disrupt normal hormone function.

These are associated with health conditions such as cancer and heart disease, so drinking from a plastic bottle which has been left in your car can be deadly.


  • Hand sanitiser
  • Medication

Hand sanitiser has become a staple item during lockdown – however, if alcohol-based, hand sanitiser can become a fire risk in hot weather. Also, as alcohol evaporates quickly in direct sunlight, warm weather may also impact the actual effectiveness of the product, leaving you at risk.

Similarly, high humidity and temperatures can make medication less effective which can cause a life-threatening situation if medication is essential or for emergencies.

Family specific

  • Your kids
  • Art supplies
  • Your pets
  • Pet food

On an extremely serious note, children left alone in cars are at risk for hypothermia (losing heat) and hyperthermia (overheating) as they cannot regulate their body temperature as quickly as adults.

A young child stuck in a hot car can deteriorate quickly and die within minutes, so should never be left in a car alone – not even for a minute while you quickly pop into the shop! 

Similarly, pets should not be left alone in a vehicle. Dogs mainly control their body temperature by panting – however, when they are very hot this panting isn’t always enough to stop them from overheating, and this can be lethal.

For more information about making sure your car is safe, visit the Tyre Runner blog.