Safety tip: What to do if your car catches fire (April 3, 2019 Hotline)

Safety tip: What to do if your car catches fire

With the hot months coming, the chances of your car overheating and possibly catching fire become greater. Cars can catch fire for many reasons. Mechanical or electrical issues are the most common cause. A car can also catch fire as the result of a bad crash. If you see smoke or flames, smell burning rubber or plastic, respond immediately.

Here are some tips on how to handle a situation if your car does catch on fire:

  • Pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so, be sure to use your signal as you make your way to a safe location off the road such as the breakdown lane or rest stop.
  • Once you have stopped, turn off the engine.
  • Get everyone out of the car. Never return to a burning car for anything.
  • Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic.
  • Call 911.

What you can do to help prevent a car fire on the road:

  • Have your car serviced regularly by a professionally trained mechanic. If you spot leaks, your car is not running properly, get it checked. A well-maintained car is less likely to have a fire.
  • If you  must transport gasoline, transport only a small amount in a certified gas can that is sealed. Gas cans and propane cylinders should never be transported in the passenger compartment.
  • Never park a car where flammables, such as grass, are touching the catalytic converter.
  • Be careful with cigarettes and other heat sources.
  • Drive safely to avoid an accident.
  • Other danger signs include cracked or loose wiring or electrical problems, including a fuse that blows more than once, engine temperature, oil or fluid leaks and rapid changes in fuel or fluid levels.

These and other safety tips are available at www.nfpa.org/education.


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