With the summer fire season well underway, and the Santa Ana fire season beginning in October, it’s important to know how to keep your vehicle safe from catching fire, and also how to prevent your car from being the cause of another wildfire.
Preventing Your Car From Catching Fire
The most common causes of a vehicle fire are mechanic and electrical issues. A car accident can also cause a car to catch fire. It is important to stay alert; if you ever smell burning rubber or plastic, or notice smoke or flames, take action immediately.
If your car catches fire, you should:
- Pull over as quickly as is safe to do so. Be sure to use your signal as you make your way to a safe location off the road such as the breakdown lane or rest stop.
- Once you have stopped, turn off the engine.
- Get everyone out of the car. Never return to a burning car for anything.
- Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic.
- Call 9-1-1.
A vehicle fire can be scary, however there are preventative measures you can take to help avoid this dangerous situation:
- Have your car serviced regularly by a professionally trained mechanic. If you spot leaks, your car is not running properly, get it checked. A well-maintained car is less likely to have a fire.
- If you must transport gasoline, transport only a small amount in a certified gas can that is sealed. Keep a window open for ventilation.
- Gas cans and propane cylinders should never be transported in the passenger compartment.
- Never park a car where flammables, such as grass, are touching the catalytic converter.
- Drive safely to avoid an accident.
Most importantly, know your car and be able to recognize the following warning signs:
- Cracked or loose wiring or electrical problems, including a fuse that blows more than once
- Oil or fluid leaks
- Oil cap not on securely
- Rapid changes in fuel or fluid level, or engine temperature
Preventing Your Car From Causing A Forest Fire
This helpful infographic, courtesy of Prevent Wildfires CA, explains proper vehicle safety to help prevent forest fires.
Information in this article courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.
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