Imagine you are driving down the interstate when black smoke starts rolling out from under your hood. Do you have any idea what’s going on? How are you going to react? Automobile fires are pretty rare compared to other types of highway incidents, so most people don’t know what to expect or how to handle the situation when it happens to them. However, car fires are extremely dangerous, so it’s important to avoid panic by knowing how to react if it occurs.
Reasons Why It Might Be On Fire
Car fires can be caused by a variety of things. Fuel leakages, overheating, short circuits, and, of course, car accidents can all cause fires. If you frequently see fluids collecting underneath your car in parking lots, or if fuses in your car’s electrical system are getting blown out from old or loose wiring, it’s a good idea to get your car serviced right away. Older cars and vehicles that aren’t very well maintained are at a higher risk of catching on fire, so make sure you get your car checked regularly and address any issues you notice.
What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire
- Turn your signal on and immediately move to the safest place to stop.
- Put the car in park and turn off the ignition. Stopping the fuel flow and electric current is very important to prevent the fire from getting worse.
- Get every person out of the car, and don’t allow anyone to go back to retrieve personal items.
- Move at least 100 feet away from the burning vehicle to avoid the flames and toxic fumes. Also warn bystanders to stay back.
- Call 911.
- Alert oncoming traffic if possible.
What NOT to Do
Anytime drivers pull off the road to address a car issue, their first instinct is to look under the hood and try to determine the problem. If your car is smoking or you see flames, there’s no need to check it out – you know what the issue is here! Opening the hood sucks in a gust of air that actually fans the flames and exacerbates the problem. You can find out the cause of the fire later.
Also, don’t try to put the fire out yourself. Car fires can escalate quickly, and explosions are always a risk. It simply isn’t worth putting yourself in danger just to attempt putting out the flames. Let your insurance take care of the loss.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to call your insurance agent. After you’ve dialed 911 and authorities are on their way, give your agent a call from the scene if you can. The earlier you get in touch with your agent, the sooner he or she can start working on your claim and get you back on the road safely!