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Dangerously high temperatures in Maryland are damaging vehicles

How high heat impacts vehicles
How high heat impacts vehicles 02:24

BALTIMORE -- The Maryland Department of Transportation spoke with WJZ about the dangers associated with allowing a car to overheat.

Marylanders who are dealing with the high heat are doing whatever they can to stay cool.

In Harford County, people are taking advantage of cooling centers.

"It's humid outside," Keisha Wilson of Harford County said. "It's 90 degrees. Who wouldn't want to sit in a library on a day like today?"

People are taking precautions amid the soaring temperatures.

"Hydration really can't be emphasized enough," Sinai Emergency Dept. Medical Director Dr. Mark Goldstein said. "I think if you're gonna be outside for prolonged periods of time, it's over 90 degrees, you need to really have a constant source of liquid."

Humans need to stay cool amid high temperatures, and so do their vehicles.

WJZ rode along with the Maryland Department of Transportation's Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART).

CHART Emergency Response Technician Devin Wilson's job is to drive around and assist drivers having car troubles.

Since Monday, he said he has helped about a dozen drivers whose vehicles have overheated.

One of his stops on Wednesday was a truck fire near Halethorpe, Maryland.

"Most of the time, it starts with a malfunction in the vehicle like an oil leak, overheating vehicle," Wilson said.

He said it's important for people to keep up with the maintenance required for their vehicles: They should check for leaks and check the oil, coolant and tire pressure levels of their vehicles, too.

Drivers should be cautious when their vehicles overheat, Wilson said.

"I would say it's very dangerous because even if you're thinking you're going to be sitting there for a few minutes and let your car cool down, your vehicle has a mind of its own," Wilson said. "It might not want to start up again, and then you're stuck sitting in that hot car."

While Wilson is out helping others, he also has to stay cool, too.

"(I) stay hydrated and stay in this truck as much as I can with the AC turned on," Wilson said. "But mostly stay hydrated."

Any drivers who experience car troubles on state-owned highways can dial #77 for assistance.

Most of the cooling centers in the area are staying open through Thursday for people who need them.

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