How do you prevent fires in the car while driving or filling fuel?

A vehicle is a mainstream means of transportation these days, but we must not forget that at the end of the day, they are a piece of complex machinery. Since they work on the principle of combustion, incidents are not uncommon of a vehicle catching fire, as they carry many combustible materials such as fuel, engine oil, etc., along with the means of igniting it. Fire can not only take your life, but it can also lead to a fatal accident by failing major components of a vehicle. A car may catch fire as a result of a collision, fuel leak, tire burst, or electrical failure. The reason could be anything, but a fire in a moving car is dangerous because you must bring the car to a complete stop, to escape. A fire in a parked car presents its own set of difficulties. This article will examine all scenarios of a fire hazard in a car and will provide you with steps on how to prevent vehicle fire.

“BMW Car Fire” by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Car catching fire while driving

A burning car is a dangerous thing because it can cause panic among the passengers. Vehicular fires can occur for a variety of reasons, and they can be fatal at times, as a car contains fuel such as petrol or diesel, which is a highly flammable liquid. If you notice a fire in your car while driving, the first thing you should do is pull over to the side of the road and turn off the ignition. The next thing you should do is get out of the car as soon as possible. You should also assist other occupants in safely exiting the vehicle. Before turning off the ignition, you can also unlock all of the doors and windows. Move away from the burning vehicle as soon as you get out of the car. There are flammable liquids in a car, which could cause an explosion. If you have a fire extinguisher, try to put out the fire before it spreads. Take note that you should only do this if it is safe to do so. When a car is on fire, do not open the bonnet/boot to try to extinguish the flames. A fire in the engine bay or underneath the car is extremely dangerous, and attempting to open the boot/bonnet may cause the flames to flare up and burn your hands. If the fire becomes out of control, you should immediately contact the fire department and also notify the traffic police.

When the Car is Parked/Stopped in Traffic

A fire in a parked car or while stuck in traffic can be extremely difficult to extinguish. Before taking any evasive action, you must be fully aware of your surroundings. If you see smoke or flames in your car, turn off the engine and ignition and get out. Consider unlocking the car doors so that the vehicle can be easily extinguished in the event of a fire. Move away from the burning vehicle as soon as you get out of the car. A car contains electrical components and flammable liquids, which may cause an explosion and the debris will strike you. Hence, keep a safe distance from the burning car. When your burning vehicle is in the middle of the road, it may cause damage to other vehicles as well. As a result, warn other road users to avoid contact with the burning vehicle. Also, warn pedestrians to keep their distance from the car. Contact the fire department right away because a burning car in the middle of the road can be dangerous. The fire department will be able to quickly control the situation and extinguish the fire. Never try to extinguish a fire on your own. Because the vehicle is in the middle of the road, there is a high risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. Never approach a burning car to retrieve personal belongings.

How to prevent vehicle fires?

Service your car at regular intervals or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Maintain optimal fluid levels and ensure that all components are in perfect working order. Check the fuel lines for wear and leaks regularly. Fuel leakage is extremely dangerous because it is a highly flammable liquid. Smoking is not permitted inside the vehicle. Because the interior of the car contains plastic and other materials that can easily catch fire, even a small spark can cause a fire. Keep your car away from flammable gases or fluids. When you park the car, the engine will be hot, and it is best to avoid parking near flammable materials. While refueling the car, turn off the engine. Fuel vapors could catch fire if they come into contact with the heat produced by the engine. Carry or leave flammable substances out of the car. The temperature inside a closed car can rise to dangerous levels, and flammable substances can catch fire. Get a car fire extinguisher and keep it near the driver’s seat.


As we have discussed, a vehicle is a very complex machine and carries all the ingredients to start a fire. Hence, you should always make sure that your vehicle is inspected and checked at the regular service intervals, mentioned by the car manufacturers. You should not take the maintenance of fuel-related systems lightly, although they are built in a failsafe manner, you cannot be too sure about them. In an uneventful case, where the vehicle does catch fire, you should take full precautions and avoid going near it if the situation is out of control. Basic maintenance is the answer to how to prevent vehicle fire.