Your car may be trying to inflict serious injury on you, should you suffer from a reduced sensory condition and drive a car with heated seats. Have no fear, since the NHTSA is investigating this potentially serious situation, and will advise us on just how big a threat heated seats pose to the general populace. Regardless of their findings, one thing is absolutely certain: the owners manual for all cars that could be equipped with heated seats will grow by at least 30 pages, in order to contain specific instructions on their use (and plenty of legal disclaimer lingo advising against misuse). The fine print on the back of your sun visor just grew in length as well, unless manufacturers can get away with an adhesive label for the dash. New cars will probably creep up in price as well, just to cover this newly incurred expense.
Here are the facts: sustained temperatures above 105 degrees Fahrenheit can produce skin burns over time, and the NHTSA is investigating whether seat heaters in vehicles reach or exceed this temperature. Some drivers or passengers may suffer from a condition that gives them reduced sensory perception, so they may not feel if a seating surface is too hot. According to reports cited by USA Today, “dozens” of occupants have been injured by this bizarre combination of circumstances, which can only mean one thing in this country: either heated seats will be discontinued, or their temperatures will be reduced to the point of ineffectiveness.
I’ve driven a lot of cars with heated seats over the years, and never experienced anything close to a burn even with the setting on High. I hope that automakers find a way to satisfy the NHTSA without a radical redesign (maybe by including a master on / off switch for all heaters); I may live in Florida now, but I suspect I’m not done living in cold climates. I’d sure hate to give up heated seats in winter.
Source: Left Lane News