Car fires are dramatic, terrifying events, but they are also surprisingly common. The impact of a severe traffic accident can easily lead to a life-threatening car fire, and knowing how to protect yourself and others at that moment is critical. One of the best strategies you can adopt is to assume that the impact of a serious car accident that affects your engine or gas tank could lead to a fire and to react accordingly.
If You Smell Smoke
If you are driving, and you smell smoke or otherwise detect fire (always pay attention to the warning lights on your car’s dash), pull over as safely and as quickly as you possibly can and immediately cut your vehicle’s engine. Doing this helps to stop the flow of highly flammable fuel to your car’s engine and may help prevent a fire from erupting. Get everyone out of the vehicle as quickly as possible, move as far away from the car as you are safely able to (about half the length of a football field is generally considered safe), and call 911.
If You Have Been in a Car Accident
The drill is the same if your car has been seriously damaged in an accident and you suspect that it could result in fire. Remove yourself and any passengers from the vehicle and get as far away from it as you safely can before immediately calling 911. A car fire that is caused by a car accident can lead to far more damage than the precipitating accident itself.
Removing Yourself Safely from the Vehicle
Car fires are terrifying, and if your car is already on fire, you have very little time to react safely. As such, it is vital to keep the following safety basics in mind:
- Have everyone who is old enough and capable of getting out of the car on their own do so as soon as you stop.
- Help anyone who is incapable of or is slow at getting out of the car on their own. This includes babies, small children, and older people with physical or mental limitations.
- Leave your possessions behind. Now is not the time to worry about things that can be replaced after the fact. The less time you spend near a car fire, the better off you are.
- If the fire is small and not in or near the car’s engine or gas tank, a fire extinguisher may help you stop the fire from spreading.
- If you arrive on the scene of a car fire, apply these safety basics in your efforts to help remove occupants of the burning vehicle.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a practiced car accident attorney with considerable experience helping clients like you successfully recover on their full range of physical, financial, and emotional damages. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.