Car Explosions: Statistics, Facts, and Explanations

Car Explosions: Statistics, Facts, and Explanations

Car Fire - Rvierside Fire DepartmentIn recent news, there was a rather well publicized accident that resulted in a tragic death after a vehicle seemingly exploded into flames.  There is a lot that should be known about this type of event, how it occurs, what to do when it happens, and the possible causes.  However, it is important to recognize that car explosions are very rare.  In fact, the accident in question is still under investigation.  Many believe that it was not an explosion, but just a hot burn that led to the loss of life.

You are far more likely to see a car to explode on the big screen than you are to see something like that on the side of the St. Petersburg roadways.  Explosions require on many factors occurring together and in the perfect way, which is why they are so rare after car accidents.  There must be flammable vapors in an enclosed space, which is introduced to a flame, if an explosion is to occur.  While the gas tank seems the obvious place for this to happen, liquid gasoline will not explode.  Even the vapors are not going to violently ignite, unless there is a hole large enough for flames to enter but small enough to maintain the necessary pressure.

While explosions are rare, car fires are not. According to federal statistics, there are an average of thirty or more reported every hour across this country. Each day, a car fire claims a life.  This is not a problem to be overlooked or ignored.  Though fires are still rare when compared to the number of total accidents that happen daily, one cannot turn a blind eye on the approximately seventeen hundred people injured in car fires each year, nor on the nearly four hundred that lose their lives in the same way.

Though an explosion is unlikely, a car accident does often result in excessive heat, punctures, holes, leaks, and sparks.  A small fuel leak ignited by an even smaller spark can quickly claim the dry, flammable materials within a car.  Some will argue that the advancements in car design have made the cabins flame retardant.  This is true, but that does not mean that those materials will not burn, just that they are less likely to catch when compared to other fabrics and plastic.  A car fire can quickly heat up to extremely high temperatures that catch even the most resistant objects.

The majority of fires that will occur on Saint Petersburg highways will be caused by mechanical failures, but the fires resulting from car accidents tend to be more deadly in nature, which is why it is important to know what to do after a car accident to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential car fire.  Most importantly, understand that a large number of the deaths resulting from car fires happen because an untrained person tries to fight the flames without the help of the professionals.  It is important to mention this because it can be difficult to make decisions in a time of high stress, like this.  Get yourself to safety, help the others in harm’s way, but let the car be until help arrives.

If you are involved in a car fire – whether caused by an accident or vehicle malfunction – call a personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of collecting financial compensation for your losses.