Car Fire Accident on Highway 99
A car fire accident on May 10 halted traffic on Highway 99 near the Fruitridge off-ramp. Several vehicles were involved in the accident. One vehicle, an unmanned Dodge pickup, started the melee when it caught fire slightly before 2:00 p.m. Ten minutes later, the Dodge was engulfed in flames. Another vehicle passing by the pickup also caught fire, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). A nearby Mustang sedan was also involved in the accident.
Drivers were warned to avoid the area if possible. The southbound lanes were closed for several hours as police cleared the roadway. Caltrans was able to reopen the lanes at 3:00 in the afternoon.
Car Fires Are Common
Vehicular fires are fairly common. There were roughly 168,000 such fires in 2017. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are roughly 33 vehicular fires every hour. Some of the most common reasons for such fires are:
- Fuel leakage from a ruptured fuel line
- Short circuits in electrical devices
- Airbag detonators
What Should You Do When a Car Fire Occurs?
If your car catches fire or if you suspect it has, pull over to the side of the road. Cut your engine and put your emergency blinkers on. Turning your engine off will prevent more fuel from entering it. Leave the vehicle and place yourself and your passengers at a safe distance. This may range from 130 to 150 feet. Call 911 to let them know what is happening. If you are experienced with handling vehicular fires, you may be able to use your fire extinguisher if there is only smoke coming from the hood. Always use the fire extinguisher from a distance of a few feet. Alternately, if the rear of the car is on fire, just get out of range to avoid burn injuries.
How Can You Prevent Vehicular Fires?
Since most fires result from a broken fuel pipe or a malfunction in the fuel line, you need to have your vehicle checked yearly. This will help ensure that a car fire from a fuel leak won’t happen. Keep a fire extinguisher in your trunk. However, even a fire extinguisher cannot take care of all fires.
Additional events occur when there is a vehicular fire. Some situations to look out for are:
- Struts can explode: Struts are used to keep the front and hatchback hoods open. They can and do explode if exposed to the intense heat of a fire.
- Battery explosion: During a car fire, the battery may explode. This can release battery acid.
- Driveshaft: The driveshafts can also explode. These hollow tubes are adversely affected by fire.
- Fuel injection systems: Fuel is vaporized into cylinders by this system. This fuel is maintained under pressure when the vehicle is not moving.
- Bumpers: Energy absorbing bumpers have shock absorbers that are pressurized. They are capable of bursting when exposed to the heat of a car fire.
- Tires: Tires are pressurized too and can explode.
- Air conditioner: The air conditioner has compressed gases used to cool the vehicle. A compressed gas is capable of exploding.
- Keeping gases intact: Newer vehicles are better sealed to keep noise levels low. This also means that pressurized gases will be contained for a longer period, leading to a bigger explosion.
Are You Insured for a Car Fire?
Your car insurance comprehensive coverage will pay for a car fire as long as it is not the result of a collision. The amount is your coverage less the deductible. So if you carry $5,000 worth of comprehensive coverage and the deductible is $500, you will have $4,500 to pay for your vehicle’s damage. Some examples of a car fire covered by comprehensive insurance include arson, a fire in your garage and an engine fire while driving. It is important to have an experienced attorney who will investigate the fire to see why it happened.
Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. If you’ve experienced a car fire or an accident due to one, you need legal insight. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach out to me online.
I am pleased to tell you about two organizations I belong to:
- National Association of Distinguished Counsel: This organization only allows membership to those attorneys who extend legal excellence to their clients.
- Million Dollar Advocates: We are lawyers who have won more than $1 million for a client.
Read more about my practice on the following pages:
Photo Attribution: https://www.pexels.com/photo/automobile-burning-car-extinguisher-47863/
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