What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire

The scorching heat of summer can certainly take its toll. Your vehicle components already endure extreme temperatures, and driving under the searing hot sun only serves to add to your car's stresses. If you haven't thought about what you should do if your car catches fire, now's the time to start thinking about it.

What to watch out for

Car fires are often caused by problems in the vehicle's electrical and fuel systems. Your best line of defense is to always be alert for these car fire warning signs:

  • Fuses blowing.
  • Rapid cabin temperature drop.
  • Smoke coming out from the engine.
  • Rapid changes in the instrument panel gauges.

What to do in case of fire

If you see fire somewhere in your car while you're driving, it’s important for you to stay calm and act fast. Here's what you need to do:

  • Signal the drivers behind you and quickly pull over to the side of the road.
  • Shut off the engine.
  • Get out of the car and move to a safe distance.
  • Call 911 for fire emergency assistance.
  • Don't attempt to put out the fire yourself. You don’t want to risk your car exploding or inhaling toxic fumes.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher on hand, you can try to put out the flames on your own--just make sure to follow safety instructions.

Preventing vehicle fire

More than the environmental conditions, neglecting the condition of the car and bad driving habits are the biggest risks of car fires. Protect yourself from such mishaps when you:

  • Have your vehicle inspected and maintained regularly.
  • Watch out for problems in the fuel and electrical systems and then have them checked right away.
  • Practice defensive driving and stay within manageable speeds.
  • Avoid storing flammable items in your vehicle.
  • Keep your cabin well-organized.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher and escape tool at all times.

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