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Ask Andrew: Does the wind chill have an effect on cars, trucks?

The wind chill makes us feel colder, but does it actually mean the temperature is lower?

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Wind chill and "feels like" temperatures have been getting quite a workout lately with some of the recent cold snaps. Good timing to answer a question regarding wind chill values and moving vehicles. 

Jerry D. from Rock Island asks, "Does wind chill have an effect on cars and trucks?" Let's dive in!

First, let's examine the whole idea behind what the wind chill actually is. The wind chill is defined as the temperature humans and animals experience based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind. The lower the temperature and the stronger the wind speed, the more dangerous the wind chill becomes. 

Take the scenario below for example. If the actual temperature is 15 degrees above zero and we have a light wind speed of 3 miles per hour, the wind chill drops to 10 degrees above zero. Increase the winds by a factor of 10 and the wind chill factor tanks, dropping to 6 degrees below zero. 

Credit: WQAD

Right away that tells us inanimate objects, such as cars and trucks, are not impacted by the wind chill because we are not actually cooling those objects down to the "wind chill" temperature. Naturally, those same inanimate objects don't have "feeling" like we do. 

However, you can experience wind chill while riding inside your vehicle. Sticking your arm outside the window while traveling down the road will create a wind-chill effect on your skin if the temperatures are colder than 35-degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer in a future segment, you can submit it here