Chicagotribune.com recently reported that two large flatbed trucks collided last week and caused a large fire on Interstate 90 near Barrington. Police say one of the trucks was southbound in the right-hand lane of the interstate around 9am when it attempted to merge into the lane on its left. In the process, another flatbed truck struck it from behind.
Drivers were shocked to travel past the huge clouds of black smoke and flames that consumed both of the trucks. Local fire departments rushed to the scene, one firefighter saying “It was all flames when I got there.” The flames were reportedly high enough to touch nearby utility wires stretching across the roadway. Leaking diesel fuel mixed with the water that firefighters used to douse the trucks caused a small fire that ran down the edge of the roadway. A firefighter working on the scene almost got trapped between the fire in the vehicles and the fire along the side of the road. The flames were large enough to completely destroy the cab of one truck and the engine compartment of the other.
Neither driver was injured in the accident, although an officer at the scene told reporters, “There are a lot of ways this could have been a lot worse.” The first flatbed truck had been carrying big pipes, machinery, and other equipment that could have easily caused more injury or damage. The second flatbed truck was issued a ticket for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. He allegedly told state police that he had put on the brakes, but too late to avoid the collision.
The consequences of any type of road accident often bring harm or suffering to those involved, including injury, medical bills, property damage, or the loss of a loved one. Vehicle fires, a common result of car and trucking accidents, are known to increase the risk of these expenses. That said, our personal injury lawyers thought readers would benefit from a reminder of some fire safety rules that all drivers should be aware of in case you experience a fire in your vehicle.
After a collision or roadway accident, vehicle fires commonly start in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can start when a vehicle is left alone in a tall, grassy area, the vehicle’s engine is still hot, or if flammable material is present in the vehicle.
Preventing vehicle fires first requires your vehicle to be properly maintained. This includes checking the fuel lines and gas tank, being sure that all vehicle parts are properly installed, assessing electronics on a regular basis, and maintaining the vehicle’s battery. Problems with vehicle maintenance can raise the risk of a fire starting. Keeping your vehicle clutter-free and ridding of any garbage or debris inside can also help to prevent a fire from worsening if one starts. Never transport flammables or combustible liquids in the same part of the vehicle that passengers ride.
Though some drivers invest in fire safety devices and resources that can be kept in a vehicle to minimize fires, many others tend to underestimate the strength of a vehicle fire. Not only are the drivers or passengers in the vehicle in danger, but surrounding cars, trucks, pedestrians, or buildings are also at risk.
If your vehicle catches on fire while it is still in motion, move to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Get out of the vehicle immediately and move as far away from it as possible, while keeping yourself a safe distance away from oncoming traffic. Notify emergency services and wait for them to put out the fire; never try to put out the fire yourself, as most drivers who attempt to rid of the fire sustain more injuries than they did from the original accident.
U.S fire departments respond to 287,000 vehicle fires on average every year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Following the above safety tips and limiting reckless driving will help to protect all motorists from roadway accidents and vehicle fires. If you or someone you know has been injured an accident caused by a negligent driver, our lawyers are here to help you receive compensation.