In this article, I am going to provide you with some tips to help you avoid a vehicle fire that could be life-saving.
Almost a quarter-million vehicle fires occur every year. Older vehicles accounted for three-quarters of the highway vehicle fires caused by mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions. Maintenance is important throughout the vehicle’s years of use to help you avoid a vehicle fire.
Car fires account for 16 percent of all reported fires, 15 percent of all civilian fire deaths, and 10 percent of all reported civilian fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than two-thirds of vehicle fires result from mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions, compared to only 3 percent from collisions or rollovers.
“In 2018, only fires in one- and two-family homes claimed more lives than vehicle fires. Vehicle fires caused 4.5 times the number of deaths as nonresidential structure fires and 1.6 times the number of apartment fire deaths.” This is according to the March 2020 National Fire Protection Association Vehicle Fires Research report by Marty Ahrens.
AAA is urging drivers to get a comprehensive vehicle maintenance inspection.
This type of inspection will help you avoid a vehicle fire especially if they have not had one in the past year. And during this inspection to be especially alert to damaged wiring and loose electrical connections, worn or blistered fluid lines, leaking connections, severely worn brake components, and damaged heat shields.
“Although drivers may believe fires occur mostly from collisions, this is not true. Many more are caused by failed vehicle components that could have been maintained or repaired before causing or accelerating a fire,” said AAA President Robert L. Darbelnet.
To reduce the risk of a vehicle fire, AAA recommends the following tips to help you avoid a vehicle fire:
* Check for wear and tear. Watch for fluid leaks under vehicles, cracked or blistered hoses, or wiring that is loose has exposed metal or has cracked insulation. Have any of these conditions inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
* Be alert to changes in the way your vehicle sounds when running, or to a visible plume of exhaust coming from the tailpipe. A louder than usual exhaust tone, smoke coming from the tailpipe, or a backfiring exhaust could mean problems or damage to the high-temperature exhaust and emission control system on the vehicle. Have vehicles inspected and repaired as soon as possible if exhaust or emission control problems are suspected.
If your vehicle catches fire, firefighters recommend that you, pull to the side of the road, stop, and turn off the ignition. Do not open the hood because more oxygen can make the fire larger and exposes you to a sudden flare-up.
Make sure everyone gets out of the vehicle, move at least 100 feet away, and call for help. Never return to the vehicle to fight the fire yourself.