“Burning Cars”: A new kind of accident !

Dr. Sanjay kulshreshtha

This new kind of accident is being noticed more frequently these days i.e. cars are catching fire suddenly without being crashed. In many such cases cars get permanently locked, not giving any chance to occupants to escape, but to be burned alive.

Inside a car the space is very small and it is full of plastics, rubber and foam taking no time to catch fire and char the body of its occupants beyond recognition !

SOME FACTS: These fire accidents have been seen in:

• Cars of all size or segments [small, mid & big] and even known to occur in luxury cars and SUVs
• Cars of all companies including international one
• Cars of both liquid[petrol & diesel] and gas driven
• Has been seen in brand new cars

Till now we are not aware of any such proper enquiry from government, automobile associations, automobile companies or manufacturers, NGO, etc that has been conducted or is pending.

What to do if the car catches fire?
We are giving some suggestions that may help in such a crisis

Hammer,      Ordinary
hammer,        Pointed
iron rod,    fire extinguisher
Keep Auto escape tools
[1] hammer is the most important escaping tool. Although there are special hammers for breaking glass windows called ‘Life Hammer’ but don’t feel shy in keeping the ordinary hammer that may not be so good looking but very effective.
[2] pointed iron rod to open jammed doors.
[3] cutter to cut seat belt as some time due to heat buckle may fuse to its anchor.
[4] fire extinguisher.

These simple tools not only save lives in case of emergencies but also give peace of mind for drivers

Follow These Steps:
Do not panic. Panic will cause you to waste ‘precious seconds’. Think fast and act fast. In fact you have only a few seconds so you can not afford time to think BUT to act immediately. This is only possible when you have already planned some strategy of self-rescue for such accidents

Step 1 Stop the car and move to the side of the road

Step 2 Get your seat belt off

Step 3 Turn off the ignition to stop the electric current and fuel flow. This is necessary to open automatic doors. It is important to note that in some cars doors are unlocked only when keys are removed. So don’t forget to remove the keys in addition to turning it to off position.

Step 4 : If doors don’t open then use hammer to break the window glass and come out.

Step 5 : If you don’t have hammer and cannot get the door open, the next best thing is to kick out a window. Preferably use both feet against a side window. Once it is shattered you can push away the window out of the frame.

Use of fire extinguisher:
First ensure your escape then only try to douse the fire. You should use extinguisher only if the fire is relatively SMALL and confined to the interior or under bonnet . Don’t try if the fire is in large area or in the rear side [i.e. near fuel tank]. There is a risk of explosion and toxic fumes emanating from vehicles fires. Inhalation of toxic fumes is the most common form of fire-related death.

Some more precautions
1. Do not go back into a burning vehicle and risk yourself by removing personal belongings.
2. If a particular fuse is blowing repeatedly then this may be an early indication of short circuiting .
3. Double check the cap of fuel tank after filling. Oil spilled on a hot exhaust can cause a fire.
4 . Avoid throwing cigarette butts anywhere.
5. Don’t ignore any change in vehicle sounds when running, or to a visible plume of exhaust coming from the tailpipe.
6. Observe your temperature gauge frequently . Check if the temperature is rising.
7. For gas based vehicle, it is better to go for a company-fitted kit instead of local available kits that may not be fire or leak proof.
8. Check frequently for fluid leaks under vehicles [e.g. fuel, motor oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid or even coolant .

Please don’t expect too much luxury in vehicles.
Why are we opting for an increasingly sedentary lifestyle these days?
If we consider the example of a power window, we find that in India, except for 2-3 months, we need the AC for the entire year. The status of pollution outside also hardly allows you to pull the window down once in a while.

Why can’t we use our hand a little bit to move window glasses by using a lever-based glass mover? No doubt, you have to consume 3 calories for it, but it could prove a life-saving opportunity in some emergency situations, like this and drowning.

Please remember power windows ALWAYS need current and their chances of malfunctions are very high in all kinds of accidents.

Source of information: www.tsunamionroads.org

 Please share/ forward  this useful info with your contacts & help them.