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TikToker says she was trapped in 115-degree heat after her Tesla locked her inside during a software update

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert   

TikToker says she was trapped in 115-degree heat after her Tesla locked her inside during a software update
  • A TikToker says she got stuck in her Tesla for 40 minutes during a software update.
  • Her car was parked in the sun, and during the update she says the temperature inside reached 115°F.

A TikToker says she was "roasting like a freakin' chicken" after she got stuck in her Tesla on a hot day while the car completed its software update.

The TikToker, whose screen name is Brianna Janel, said in a series of videos that she expected the software update to last 24 minutes, according to a message displayed on the internal screen in the vehicle — long enough for her to finish a work call while she waited for her Chick-fil-A order to be ready — but she was still locked inside by the time her call had finished.

"When your car is updating, you're stuck in your car if you activate it while you're in here," Janel said in her first video, which had received 18.3 million views at the time of publication. "So I did that and now I'm stuck in my car literally dripping sweat — like dripping sweat — and inside my car, it's 103 degrees."

According to the Omni Calculator, on a 75-degree day, the internal temperature of a car can reach up to 115°F in just 40 minutes. In Orange County, where Janel said she's from, the weather on the afternoon when she posted the video hit a high of 76°F.

Tesla's user manual alerts owners that some safety features are disabled during software updates and warns not to open the doors or windows while the update is installed, or else "you could damage the vehicle."

The manual doesn't specify what kind of damage could occur, but the Model 3 starts at $38,990 while a Model X starts at $79,990, giving owners a significant financial incentive not to risk it.

"I'm slightly freaking out, I hope I don't run out of air. I can't open up the doors or the windows otherwise, I could potentially damage my car," Janel continued in her viral video. "So yeah. I will be stuck in my car until further notice."

Commenters on the video were split between blaming Janel for refusing to use the emergency manual release and blaming Tesla for what some described as a "huge safety issue."

In a later video, Janel said she had owned her Tesla for about 6 years, but this was the first time she'd decided to update the car while she was inside. By the 30-minute mark, she decided to just "wait it out" because she didn't want to damage the vehicle, though she added she would have opened it if she felt she was actually risking her health.

"I made it out of my car — look, I'm sweating. I'm literally dripping sweat; you can see it on my face," she said in a video update regarding her ordeal. "I just got stuck in my car as it was updating for 40 minutes, and the interior is 115 degrees. The AC has never felt so good and I've never felt better."

Despite the incident, Janel said she still loves her Tesla and calls it "a good vehicle," but she issued a warning to those who came across her video: "Do not update it when you're sitting in the car. Stick to updating it at 2 a.m. like I used to do it."

Janel and representatives for Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

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