A car crash is a terrible event to start with, but if it also involves a fire it becomes even more dangerous. Here is what you need to do if your car catches fire after colliding with something.
If Your Car Is Moving, Pull Over
If your car had just been in a crash, there is little chance that you are still on the move. However, if you are still driving and you notice smoke or flames, immediately pull over. Make sure you don’t cause other accidents and keep everybody safe by signaling before you get to the side of the road. Keeping calm is crucial in these critical moments.
Turn off the Ignition
Stop the flow of gas to the engine by turning the ignition off. It will also turn the electrical system off, reducing the chances of spreading fire.
Remove All Passengers Safely from the Car
The number one priority after stopping the car safely is to get everybody out of the car as soon as possible. Make sure everyone is out safely, stay together, and move away from the burning vehicle.
In case you are trapped inside a burning car, do what you can to release yourself, or to make the rescuers’ job easier. Use any tool you have available to cut your seatbelt, in case you can’t unbuckle it. Getting special tools that cut through seatbelts or break the windows is a wise idea in terms of prevention. Unlock your doors and windows to give rescuers a better chance of getting you out of the car.
If the fire is located under the hood of your car, never open the hood, as the sudden increase in oxygen levels can cause a burst of flames that can easily injure you. It’s best to just get away from the car to prevent inhaling toxic fumes.
Get as far Away from the Car as You Can
As soon as every passenger is out of the car, move away from it as far as you can (at least 100 feet). Call the emergency services from a safe distance and make sure the ongoing traffic is redirected to a safe distance from the car and there aren’t any bystanders endangering themselves by approaching the burning car.
If you are at a safe distance from the car and your health state allows it, you can start gathering evidence for your future insurance claim. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, of the vehicles involved, your injuries or property damage, gather contact information from other drivers and witnesses and speak with an experienced car accident attorney to protect your legal right to compensation from the at-fault party.