The last thing you’d expect when making your way to work or dropping off the kids at school is for your car to catch fire. This situation is not as outlandish as it first appears. Hundreds of thousands of motors catch fire in the U.S. every year, and as well as causing property damage they can also inflict severe injuries.
Why do cars catch fire? And what can you do to stay safe during this nightmare scenario?
Causes of vehicle fires
There are numerous reasons why an automobile may catch fire, but they are often related to vehicle defects. Faults with the electrical wiring could cause components to overheat and ignite. It is highly likely that your motor is also powered by some sort of combustible fuel. If your fuel pipes are damaged or leaking, your car could be engulfed in flames within a matter of seconds.
Get yourself to a safe distance
At the first sign of any fire (usually smoke or a small flame) you need to pull over as efficiently as possible. Make sure you signal in plenty of time, by using your indicators and hazard lights to alert other road users that there is a problem. When safe to do so, turn the engine off and exit the vehicle. Turning the engine off is a vital step, as it cuts the fuel supply off which significantly reduces the chances of an explosion.
Ideally, you want to make sure you are at least 100 ft away from the vehicle. Not only will this protect you should an explosion occur, but it will also shield you from the toxic fumes that a car fire emits.
Resist the urge to tackle the flames
Perhaps you left some important documents in the glove compartment or other personal belongings behind. You should not return to the car to collect them. Documents and personal items can be replaced. Your life and physical well-being are much more important. Once emergency services have been called, any efforts to tackle the flames should be left with them. This will most likely be uncharted territory for you, but they deal with tackling fires every single day.
A car fire can be a traumatic experience. If you have been injured because of a vehicle defect, then you may be able to claim legal compensation for the damages you have suffered.