October is National Fire Prevention month, and an important time to think about fire safety in our homes and vehicles. Vehicle fires have become a huge public safety threat and concern. Awareness of these types of fires can increase our chances of escape, and help us to avoid unfortunate and sometimes lethal circumstances.
In the United States, nearly 1 out of 5 fires involve motor vehicles. These fires resulted in approximately 490 civilian deaths and 1,200 civilian injuries. 75 percent of them were caused by poor maintenance, or mechanical and electrical failures. Only 3 percent of these fires were caused by collisions or overturned vehicles, yet this 3 percent accounts for over half of the deaths from motor vehicle fires.
The most effective way to avoid becoming injured or killed in a car fire is to do all that you can to prevent them. This involves the following precautions:
- Make sure your car is regularly maintained by a mechanic r. Look for oil or other fluid leaks, and get them inspected right away when you notice them.
- If you transport gasoline in your car, make sure it is a small amount and is contained within a certified, safe gas container. Crack the windows for proper ventilation and keep the car cool.
- Gasoline containers and propane tanks should never ride alongside you in the passenger seat of the car. Store them in the trunk instead.
- Be on the lookout for cracks, loose wiring or electrical problems under the hood. If a fuse blows more than once, there may be an electrical fire hazard looming.
- Make sure your oil cap is secure. Ask the mechanic who changes your oil to check it. The oil cap is often loose or completely off.
- Look for rapid changes in fuel or fluid level, or engine temperature. These may indicate an engine issue or a serious fluid leak.
If you find yourself in a motor vehicle fire situation, there are steps you can take to avoid losing your life. If you see smoke or flames coming from your vehicle, or smell burning rubber or plastic, you need to take precautions immediately:
- Using your signal, pull your car over to a safe location on the side of the road.
- When stopped, turn off the engine.
- Get all passengers out of the car quickly and get at least 100 feet away from it. Do not return for any reason to the burning vehicle.
- Call 9-1-1.
Engine fires are often caused by leaking fluids. Leakage can be a sign of normal wear and tear on your vehicle. Often times, though, human error can be the culprit.
Mechanics sometimes fail to make necessary repairs and cars can be poorly designed. This can include defects in hoses, gaskets or fluid connections, which all lead to car fires. If your car is brand new and it catches on fire and burns, failure to safely tighten all fluid connectors is most likely the cause.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in a car fire, and you suspect manufacturer or mechanical error to be the cause, you need to speak with an expert Texas car fire attorney at Parker Law Firm. Call us today at 817.503.9200 for a Complimentary Strategy Session and evaluation of your case. We will tirelessly seek the cause of the fire and ensure that you and your family are made whole again.