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Recognizing Warnings Signs of Vehicle Fire Can Be Difference Between Life and Death

Steve Wagner

Quick Thinking Driver Saves Indiana Students From Blazing Bus

Highway patrol and emergency officials say 16 students were able to escape a DeKalb Central school district bus before it caught fire. Their quick-thinking school bus driver picked up the vehicle’s cues that something was not right. According to reports, the driver stopped and evacuated the students from the bus after spotting smoke coming from under its front hood. When firefighters arrived, they found the engine compartment and driver’s area of the engulfed by flames. The fire’s cause wasn’t immediately determined. Students were able to exit the bus safely and checked out by medics and released with no injuries.

How Vehicle Fires Happen

Vehicle fires can happen quicker and more often than most people think. In fact, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says 33 car fires are reported every hour in the U.S. Safe driving practices, following the rules of the road and keeping up with regular maintenance can help your vehicle’s chances of catching fire. In addition, the National Safety Council has put together a nice list of tips to help prevent a vehicle fire from happening.

1. If you smell burning plastic or rubber, pull over safely and investigate. Don’t try to make it home before you determine what the trouble is.

2. Get in the habit of having your car checked out at least once a year. An inspection should include examining the vehicle for gas or oil leaks. If you suspect a leak, place a newspaper under your vehicle at night and weigh it down with a heavy object; in the morning, check the paper for stains.

3. If a fuse keeps blowing, that’s a sign of electrical trouble, the same as in your house. Don’t let it keep happening without investigating, as an overloaded wire can be the source of a fire.

What To Do If You Vehicle Catches Fire

If the unthinkable happens and your car catches fire while you are driving, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then follow these steps, which also apply if your car ignites while parked in your driveway, stopped on the roadway, or waiting in a parking lot.

1. Signal and move immediately to the right shoulder, or right lane.

2. Get the vehicle stopped and shut off the engine while getting yourself and all passengers out of the vehicle.

3. Get as far away from the vehicle as you can (at least 150 feet), but make sure the area you move to is safe and secure.

4. Dial 911, so the dispatcher can notify the fire department.

5. Warn onlookers and others to keep away, as well. If you have some signaling device, you can also attempt to warn oncoming traffic. Do not go back to your smoking or burning vehicle to retrieve first aid, flares, cones or other road safety instruments.

Here To Help You

Car accidents happen on roadways across America each and every day and sadly some can result in deadly fires. In addition to fatalities, there are thousands of serious injuries that change the lives of crash victims every year. At Wagner Reese, our attorneys have decades of experience working for victims of car and truck accidents, and our results are indicative of the determination and care we put into each case on behalf of our clients. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, call us today for a free consultation: (888) 204-8440.

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