Car fires are more common than you might imagine. If you have ever witnessed an actual car on fire, you know the devastation it can create in a matter of seconds; but what if it is your car that catches on fire? Would you know what to do? The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) cites an estimated record of 200,000 auto fires each year in the U.S., so you need to prepare for the unthinkable. Car fires are not to be taken lightly, nor is your responsibility for learning ways to handle a car fire should it happen to your car.
Common Causes of a Car Fire
You may not think car fires are that common or that it won’t happen to your auto, but below are some common causes of vehicle fires.
- Mechanical Problems- According to the NFPA, the top cause of auto fires are due to mechanical issues.
- Improper or Poor Maintenance- Older vehicles account for three-quarters of highway car fires caused by mechanical or electrical problems. If your auto is older, make sure you are maintaining the proper upkeep of your car. Staying on top of mechanical and/or electrical concerns along with oil leaks are important.
- Auto Accidents- The NFPA cites that auto accidents account for 5 percent of car fires and those fires account for 63 percent of car fire fatalities. When a car crash happens, fluids can leak out, especially if the impact is great enough, increasing the likelihood of a car fire.
4 Key Considerations if Your Vehicle Catches on Fire
Nobody likes to think about their vehicle catching on fire, but if yours does or if you suspect fire, you need to act quickly, but remain calm. Every second counts! Below are some tips to consider in a fire scenario:
- Pull over immediately and turn off your engine. Turning off the engine will shut off the gas flow along with the power currant.
- Immediately get out of the car (along with all occupants) and do not return for any items you may have forgotten. Stay at least 100 feet away from the car and remember that staying safe is essential.
- Contact 911 immediately for assistance; however, while you are waiting, never try to extinguish the fire yourself.
- Notify your local independent insurance agent to report the car fire.
How to Lessen the Chances of a Vehicle Fire
There are behaviors you can incorporate to help minimize the chances your car will catch on fire. Below are some essential tips to follow:
Maintain Your Vehicle- Having routine maintenance performed by a reputable licensed auto mechanic will ensure your car is performing as it should, and minor items can be caught before something more substantial/catastrophic happens. For example, if your “check engine” light comes on, immediately have your car checked for engine issues. Ignoring lights on your dash and/or car issues can result in unsafe situations.
Safely Transport Fuel– If you need to fill up a gas container, make sure you put the gas in a sealed container that won’t spill or leak out into your car. Never place the gas container in the passenger side of your vehicle.
Fire can wreak havoc on your car in a very short time, so knowing what to do when the unthinkable happens is crucial. We, at Cameron Group Insurance, are here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding car fires. We can discuss specific coverage issues concerning auto fires along with exclusions and deductibles. Don’t wait! Call us today at 845-627-2130.