Driving is something that many of us do on a daily basis. Vehicle fires represent a significant risk to drivers everywhere. However, there are a number of ways to limit your risk of injury in the event of a vehicle fire, as well as limit the likelihood that you will have to deal with one.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, highway-type vehicle fires accounted for 12 percent of reported civilian deaths between 2003 and 2007. Additionally, fire departments in the US respond to 287,000 vehicle fires a year on average. Unfortunately, the potential of a vehicle fire is a risk which comes with driving a car.
However, there are a variety of ways that you can limit your risk of suffering damage in the event of a vehicle fire. It is also possible to limit the instance of vehicle fires by taking preventative steps to ensure that your car is in good working order. Below are some tips on how to limit personal damage from vehicle fires, as well as ways to limit your risk of experiencing a vehicle fire.
Vehicle Fire Safety
If you are in a vehicle fire, follow these steps:
1. Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Vehicle fires are stressful, and so focus may be difficult. But it is very important that you signal, pull over, and are all the way off the road onto the shoulder or breakdown lane of the road. Otherwise, a vehicle fire has a high potential of turning into a car accident.
2. Once your car has come to a complete stop, turn off the engine.
3. Get out of the car and make sure that everyone else clears the scene of the vehicle fire.
4. Once you and any other passengers have cleared the area, do not return to the burning car for any reason.
5. Vehicle fires are dangerous even for bystanders. Make sure that everyone is at least 100 feet away from the car, and that they are also well away from road traffic.
6. Call 911. Vehicle fires are dangerous and should be handled by professionals.
Preventing Vehicle Fires
Many vehicle fires can be avoided before they ever happen. Keep these car fire prevention tips in mind:
- Well maintained cars are less likely to cause vehicle fires. Make sure your car is regularly serviced by a skilled mechanic. If you spot any fluid leaks yourself, make note of them and bring your car in for service immediately.
- Pay attention to any vehicle recall notices or governmental warnings concerning your vehicle make and model.
- Gasoline is a prime culprit in vehicle fires. Only transport small quantities of gasoline in your car, and always keep a window open when doing so. If possible, avoid transporting gasoline entirely.
- Never park with dry, flammable materials touching the underside of your car. Dry grass or garbage touching the underside of a car has been known to start vehicle fires.
- Drive safely and considerately to help avoid traffic accidents and the potential of subsequent vehicle fires.
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