We’ve all been there. You’re on your way to work and suddenly hit some traffic. As you get closer you see dark smoke billowing ahead and here the faint sound of sirens. Soon enough you see it; a crashed car completely engulfed in flames.

According to the NFPA, vehicle fires are responsible for roughly 10% of all reported fires in the United States. Between 2006 and 2010, there was an average of 17 automobile fires every hour, accumulating to an average of four fatalities per week. With the causes ranging from mechanical and electrical failures, to collisions and fuel fires, there are many reasons a car could catch fire. In the report published by the NFPA, an average of 152,300 automobile fires occurred per year causing an annual average of 209 civilian deaths and 764 injuries.ith how often car fires occur, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared to escape safely in case it ever happens to you. When it comes to surviving a car fire, there are only 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Pull Over As Quickly As Possible
Once you first see flames or smoke or smell burning rubber and plastic, you need to act quickly. Immediately turn on your hazard lights and make your way to the side of the road quickly and safely.

Step 2: Turn Off The Engine
Once you are safely to the side of the road, shut your car off immediately. This will cut off the gas source and make it less likely for your car to go up in flames.

Step 3: Get Out
After you turn off the car, get everyone out of the car fast. If you are able to grab belongings, do so quickly, but do not return to a burning car for any reason. If you have children, make sure you help them get out safely and instruct them to listen to you carefully.

Step 4: Step Away From The Vehicle
Move everyone at least 100 feet from the car. Make sure the direction you move is away from traffic. If you are on a freeway, move along the median, giving yourself and your family as much distance between you and any cars.

Step 5: Call 9-1-1
Once you know everyone is safe, call 9-1-1. Even if the car is not on fire yet, it could go up at any moment and you want to have emergency crews there as quickly as possible.

There are a few signs that signal a potential car fire hazard such as faulty wiring, electrical problems, blown fuses, oil or fluid leaks, and rapid changes in fuel level or engine temperature. When in a car, always do your best to take safety precautions to avoid accidents that could result in a vehicle fire. Regular car maintenance can help you prevent a fire from occurring and ensure you are doing your best to keep everyone safe on the road.