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Why Cars Catch Fire After Accidents

A motor vehicle accident occurred on October 11 on westbound Interstate 94 at the 1-mile marker in New Buffalo Township near that Indiana / Michigan border that resulted in the death of a motorist. The driver of the truck was found by law enforcement inside the vehicle after it caught on fire. Law enforcement later learned through witness interviews that the vehicle had collided with a guardrail before running off the road, crashing into a tree, and erupting into flames. It is currently unknown if the driver experienced some type of mechanical issue or even if a medical emergency led to his vehicle exiting the road. An autopsy is required to confirm both the driver’s identity as well as the cause of death.

Based on statistics compiled by the United States Fire Administration, approximately 171,500 highway fires occur in the United States each year. Fires can occur in construction vehicles, freight road transport, and passenger vehicles. Approximately one in eight fires responded to by fire departments is a highway fire. The majority of those fires originated from either a vehicle’s engine, running gear, or wheel area. These accidents, in turn, result in 345 deaths, 1,300 injuries, and $1.1 billion in property damage each year.

Common Reasons Behind Vehicle Fires

Although it might be surprising to learn, this rate is a substantial decrease from how commonly vehicle fires used to occur. In the 1980s, however, car manufacturers began to take substantial steps during the design process to reduce the risks of vehicle fires. Consequently, many vehicle collisions today do not lead to fires. To further reduce that your vehicle catches on fire, however, it can help to understand the most common causes of vehicle fires.

  • Battery-powered and electric vehicles. These types of vehicles have come under scrutiny because they can experience malfunctions which can, in turn, result in fires.
  • Crumple zones. Both the front and rear of vehicles are at an increased risk of crumpling after a car collision. While many vehicles are built to avoid crumpling, when this type of damage occurs, fires commonly result.
  • Exposed fluids. Vehicles rely on various highly flammable fluids to run properly. If these fluids are exposed to heat sources, they can ignite, necessitating proper sealing.
  • Improperly designed vehicles. Sometimes, vehicle fires occur because cars are not properly designed. The improper design can be anything from poorly positioned gas tanks to electric failures. To reduce the risk of these types of accidents, each year several motor vehicle manufacturers recall certain vehicles. For example, Hyundai and Kia are currently recalling more than half a million vehicles due to new problems that result in engine fires.
  • Improper maintenance. Sometimes, vehicle fires occur because motor vehicles are not properly maintained. Frequent maintenance is essential to prevent overheating, which can lead to fires.

If a loved one was killed in a Michigan auto accident, you can suddenly find yourself facing a number of serious complications. Fortunately, an experienced accident attorney at Jay Trucks & Associates, PC can help fight for the results you deserve.