The Danger of Car Fires
Motor vehicles have electrical wiring, flammable liquids, and explosive gases that are extremely flammable. Whether it is caused by a mechanical malfunction, chemical reaction, or human error, the results of a car fire will be the same. Occupants must get out of the car as quickly as they can and get as far away as possible from the car. Small car fires do not stay small for long and the entire vehicle may be engulfed in flames in a few moments.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 152,300 automobile fires per year between 2006 and 2010. Cars fires result in 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and millions in direct property damage each year. In fact, there are about 17 auto fires reported nationwide every hour resulting in about four deaths a week.
Mechanical or electrical failures account for about two-thirds of all automobile fires, but there are many potential causes. Auto fires resulting from collisions and overturns only make up about 4 percent of highway vehicle fires, but the NFPA reports that they account for about 60 percent of all automobile fire deaths. This is likely because the victims are too injured to escape the fires or they are trapped inside their vehicles when the fire breaks out.
If your car is on fire, it would be in your best interest to:
- Pull over right away
- Shut off the engine
- Get yourself and other occupants out of the vehicle
- Get away from the car and stay away
- Call the authorities
- Warn oncoming traffic in a safe manner
- Do not attempt to put out the fire yourself
- Do not lift the hood as it will allow a surge of air into the engine increasing the fire intensity
In addition to the dangers associated with the fire and the risk of an explosion, you may also be exposed to toxic fumes emanating from the fire. The inhalation of these fumes is one of the most common causes of fire-related death.
If you survive a car fire, it may be in your best interest to work with investigators to determine what caused the fire. You may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver or the manufacturer of the vehicle. Support is available for victims of Oklahoma car fires, but you will have to act fast to gather evidence and protect your rights. An experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer can help ensure that you are fairly and fully compensated for all your losses.
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