What should I do if my car catches on fire? How can I manage the situation safely?
Car fires may not seem like frequent incidents, but they are dangerous and potentially deadly when it happens. Nonetheless, The Fire Service reports around 300 cars that go up in flames every day.
If your car is on fire, you will most likely be in panic and shock. It is not something that we are almost always prepared for. Therefore, it is vital to know what to do when a car is on fire.
Furthermore, they can destroy the surrounding property and threaten the safety of lives around. Fortunately, there are things to do if your car catches on fire. We shall discuss this in detail in this article.
Henceforth, please keep reading to understand the causes, ways to prevent it, and suggestions to control the situation.
What Should I Do If My Car Catches on Fire?
It is crucial to act immediately when a fire starts on a car since you will be overwhelmed with smoke after some time. Therefore, it is important to take a deep breath and stop panicking.
Here follows an answer to the question what should I do if my car catches on fire. Follow the below steps carefully.
Step 1: If the fire starts when you are driving, you need to pull over immediately and turn the engine off. That will stop the flow of fuel, which can de-escalate the situation.
Step 2: Secondly, you need to get out of the car and make sure everyone else is out of the car too. The next step is to run away from the car as far as possible.
Step 3: It is important to remember to stay away from the car as long as help arrives. Also, do not return to your car to pick up something, no matter how important.
Step 4: Call your district’s emergency helpline using any phone available. If you have left your phone behind in the car, do not run back for it. Stop another car or passerby and request help.
Step 5: It is vital to be aware of your surroundings since the environment can decide what happens next. If you are on a highway, remember to stay away from moving vehicles.
Things NOT to Do When Your Car Catches Fire
If you have the right fire extinguisher and experience, you can put out the fire yourself. However, there are some things you should NOT do when the car is on fire.
Plus, what I should not do is more important than what should I do if my car catches on fire. Here are some of the things you may do that can make things worse.
Do Not Open the Car Hood
Do not open the hood since more air will reach the flames. That will feed more oxygen for the flames to burn more; as a result, you will escalate the situation.
Do Not Use an Imperfect Fire Extinguisher
It is vital to use a fire extinguisher that in perfect condition. If you do not have one, you can pour sand to suffocate the fire and extinguish it.
Do Not Pour Water
Please avoid pouring water on the flames since it can wash away the fuel to other parts. It will increase the reach of the fuel, and in turn, spread the fire.
What Causes Car Fires?
Usually, there is a combination of causes that will lead to a car fire. You will rarely find a single reason for it. It can be because of poor maintenance, design flaw, vehicle batteries, or overheating catalytic converters. Here are some of the common causes of car fires.
One of the primary causes of a car fire is faulty wiring. That is usually a result of sloppy DIY electrical repairs or negligence on the part of your mechanic.
Therefore, it is only wise to fix the wiring with a good auto-electrician. The cost will be far less compared to the problems and damages that come with a car fire.
Fuel System Leaks
Leaks in the fuel system are also one of the major reasons for a car fire. Fuels have poisonous, corrosive, and flammable properties. Gasoline has the most tendency to catch fire among other fuels.
It can catch fire even from a tiny spark at 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, it’s easy for fuel to start a fire when it drips on any hot metal in the vehicle. It is vital to prevent any form of fuel leakage in the car.
The best way to prevent fuel system leakage fire is by ensuring proper maintenance for the car. Moreover, if you ever smell gasoline in or around your vehicle, you need to fix it immediately.
A car engine can never overheat enough to catch up flames on its own. Nonetheless, it is a good example of one of the many causes of a car fire.
When an engine overheats, the internal fluids will begin to raise its temperature to dangerous levels as a result. The fluids such as coolant and oil will start to drip and spurt all over the engine bay. This trail will lead to the hot parts on the exhaust system and ignite a fire.
So invest in good radiator fans to ensure your engine system doesn’t dangerously overheat. If you notice a coolant leak, consider a good radiator stop leak sealant.
Sometimes a car crash can be a reason for a car fire. Although most modern vehicles have impressive crumple zones, sometimes the accident’s impact can be too much. That can result in damages to the battery, engine, car tires and even fuel tank.
You are aware that high heat and fluid leaks can create a suitable condition for a fire. Sometimes, the threat of a fire may not be apparent immediately during the crash. Hence, it is vital to get away from the car as soon as possible.
Arson is the criminal act of deliberately setting a fire. It is more common than it may seem; therefore, it is important to be aware of this crime.
Someone might set a car ablaze to cover up evidence of a crime or cover up a theft. Or, they might do it to vandalize the area simply. On the other hand, there are cases of insurance fraud as well.
Fire can spread rapidly; therefore, you need to follow the steps mentioned above carefully better the situation gets out of hand. Also, always remember the answer to what should I do if my car catches on fire is to get away immediately. Further, you should call the emergency helpline and let the experts take over.