Rishabh Pant accident: Why cars catch fire and what to do
Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant had a close shave on Friday morning when his Mercedes GLE SUV crashed at high-speed near Roorkee in Dehradun before catching fire. The SUV was completely charred, almost beyond recognition, after it caught fire moments after it crashed against a divider on the Delhi-Dehradun highway on December 30. Rishabh Pant had to break one of the windows of the SUV to escape the fire. He received very little burn injuries as he was helped out by local residents and eyewitnesses just in time.
It is not unusual for a car to catch fire after high speed impact. CCTV footage confirms that the SUV was at high speed after Pant fell asleep behind the wheels. Modern cars tend to pose fire hazard in such incidents due to the equipments used to build these cars, like plastic, foam, electrical wiring or fabric. Then there is always the chance of leaked fuel, the engine or the battery catching fire due to excessive heat. What makes things worse is that most cars do not come with mandatory fire extinguisher as a safety measure in case of such incidents.
While accidents can happen anytime, under any circumstances, there are steps one can take to narrow down chances of any fatality or injury. Timely precautionary steps can also stop the car from being completely burned.
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ESCAPE THE FIRE
Getting out of a burning vehicle should be the first and foremost priority for anyone caught in such a situation. In case stuck inside a burning car, use sharp objects to break open windows to help yourselves out. Keeping a fire extinguisher as primary weapon to fight fire can also help to minimise risks. There several inflammable equipment in a car that can quickly escalate a small fire, and can lead to even explosions in certain cases.
HELP THE VICTIM
If you are witness to such an incident, it is important to help the victim out of the car as soon as possible. In Rishabh Pant's case, eyewitnesses and local residents were the first responders who helped him escaped the burning SUV. If the victim cannot open his seat belt or the door is stuck due to impact, use sharp objects to break window or cut seat belts to help them out.
KEEP FIRST-AID KIT HANDY
Most cars these days come with a small first-aid kit as standard accessory. It contains most things one needs in case of small injuries. However, one may be a bit more cautious and add alcohol wipes or aloe vera gel to the kit to treat victims for small burns.
CALL ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE, EMERGENCY SERVICES
In case of a small fire, which can be doused with the help of a fire extinguisher, call roadside assistance and insurance provider to assess the damage. In case the fire is uncontrollable even after using fire extinguisher, call fire brigade as soon as possible. Also call traffic authorities to control incoming traffic before the the spot of the incident is cleared and safe for others.
STAY AWAY FROM BURNING CARS
If you chance upon such a car caught on fire, stay away. Keep your vehicles at a safe distance as well. A recent incident in Delhi shows how fire in one car can lead to a major disaster where 20 other cars parked nearby also were charred.