What Should I Know About Vehicle Fires?

Vehicle fires are some of the most dangerous situations that drivers can encounter. In the United States, there are over 170,000 vehicle fires annually, many of which end in fatalities. Nearly seven people die every week from a vehicle fire, and the majority of fires occur in passenger cars and trucks. Non-fatal accidents result in 1,300 injuries every year.

How Do Vehicle Fires Start?

A vehicle fire can be caused by faulty design, defective parts, or even a car accident. Almost 25 percent of vehicle fires are the result of equipment failure or a heat source, such as the engine or drivetrain. Over 33 percent of vehicle fires are due to driver error, such as an accident caused by careless behavior. In some cases, faulty design or defective parts may be to blame. Automakers often issue recalls for faulty parts after they realize there is a risk for a vehicle fire to start.

Recalls and Vehicle Fire Risk

More than 9.5 million vehicles have been recalled over the last eight years to fix manufacturing defects that could cause a fire. Among these fires, nearly three million vehicles were from Hyundai and Kia and two million were Ford F-150s. The Hyundai and Kia vehicles had issues with oil pan leaks and engine fires. The Ford F-150 trucks had fire risk from the seat belt pretensioner that locks the belt in place in the event of a crash. Electric cars have their own set of risks for fires, including water damage that could compromise the integrity of electrical components and start a fire. Also, battery cells can explode or catch fire if they are damaged in a crash.

Preventing Vehicle Fires

Proper maintenance is key to preventing vehicle fires. Drivers should perform all manufacturer recommended maintenance checks and look for warning signs. Warning signs can include:

  • Loose wiring
  • Broken hoses
  • Fuses that blow continually
  • Rapid changes in engine temperature
  • Spilled or leaking oil
  • Sudden changes in fuel levels
  • Loud sounds from the exhaust system

What to Do If Your Vehicle Catches Fire

If your vehicle does catch fire, turn off the ignition and get away from the car immediately. Only call 911 after you and your passengers have evacuated and reached a safe distance, which is at least 100 feet from the car. Do not return to the vehicle, and only use a fire extinguisher if it is labeled for Class B and Class C fires.

Bucks County Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Advocate for Victims Injured in Vehicle Fires

If you were injured in a vehicle fire, it is vital to seek legal counsel. Our Bucks County accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. will fight to obtain the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Call us at 888-999-1962 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. From our offices located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent injured clients throughout Pennsylvania.