Photos: Justin Westbrook

This past weekend, I was the passenger in my colleague’s Honda S2000 for what could have been a lovely drive had it not been for the severe amount of sunburn. This painful experience left me determined to log on and remind you all to always try to park in the shade.

Of course, I wasn’t sitting in a parked convertible, just baking and burning in the sun all day. Most of the damage was done when we were on the move with the top down, and I stupidly did not wear any sunscreen. That’s on me.

But before we made it out of the city, there were a few times where we stopped to wait for something or someone. Sitting there, exposed to a convertible’s natural enemy, the sun, I became more and more silently frustrated with my friend who was driving, as he seemed completely unaware of the copious amount of shady space around us.

In one instance, on a shady cobbled road in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, we stopped to wait for another friend. As we pulled up the street, refreshingly draped in the shade of a few buildings and the thick pillars of the Brooklyn Bridge, my friend avoided pulling to the curb until we were at the street corner, the only space of road in sight that was very clearly not blanketed in shade, as evidenced by the blindingly white-hot sunlight beaming down.

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Thinking he wasn’t actually going to stop, I sat there, silent in my agony. It wasn’t until he had the nerve to comment about how hot he was that I finally broke and suggested he simply put the car in reverse and back up 10 feet into the sea of shade we had just passed. And he did.

There were a few other opportunities in the day where it was incredibly obvious to me that we should have stopped just short of the crosswalk at a stoplight or stop sign, just before the shade of the buildings cut off but not ridiculously far from the intersection, to hold off some unnecessary tanning. But no, this did not happen.

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Additionally, you should definitely always just try to find shade as a general rule. Why return to a parked car that’s hotter than a steam room in hell when you could avoid it altogether? Not to mention all of the sun damage to your interior and paint work you could avoid. How is it not already a priority when parking? What else are you thinking about? Do you enjoy pain?

All of this is to say, in 99-plus degree weather on a cloudless day, especially in a convertible with the top down, aim for the damn shade. Your car, your passengers, and your biggest organ—your skin—will thank you for it.