Vehicle Fire

Quick Facts

Car Fires

Annual average in the USA 


Annual average related to car fires in the USA


Annual average related to car fires in the USA

A Preventable Global Problem

Car fires have always posed a serious safety risk to road users and may be more frequent than many realize. Burning vehicles result in thousands of injuries and deaths every year around the globe. In the US, over 170,000 vehicle fires result in  approximately 700 deaths and 1,300 injuries annually. Fires can start in combustion engine vehicles for several reasons, including mechanical failure, electrical issues and accidents. Electric vehicle fires may pose even greater risks to passenger safety, with fires that are often more difficult to manage. Knowing what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones is critical.

Modern Vehicle Fires

Whether internal combustion engine (ICE) or battery electric vehicles (BEV), modern cars offer an array of awesome features that weren’t possible just a few years ago. However, those features are typically controlled by the vehicle’s central computer, including door locking and window lowering. Fire – especially electrical fire – can engulf a vehicle in minutes and damage electronic controls. To exacerbate the problem further, modern vehicles are increasingly equipped with shatter resistant windows, making escape extremely challenging.

The Need for Smart Exit Assistance 

Because electronics can fail early in a fire, it’s time to act fast, especially if children or vulnerable users are in the car. Smart Exit Assistance systems like AWOS detect the danger as early as possible, immediately notify emergency services and provide the people in the vehicle with emergency instructions. When it’s safe to do so, it will lower all windows to ensure that everyone in the car has a way out.

How AWOS Works

How it Works

What To Do When There's Fire

Speed is key – be prepared by knowing the facts!  

Steps to take if your car catches fire

  • Safely pull over
  • Turn off the engine
  • Out immediately
  • Move at least 100 feet from the vehicle
  • Call 9-1-1

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Never return to a burning car
  • Don’t gather personal belongings
  • Don’t stay close to the car – explosions are possible
  • Don’t use water on electrical or fuel fires

Perform regular maintenance and inspections. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t ignore it.

A few of the common causes of vehicle fires:

Internal Combustion Engine

Fires can start due to electrical malfunction, fuel system issues, engine overheating, exhaust system problems, car accidents, spilled fuel, mechanical failure, improperly stored flammables and smoking while refueling.

Electric Vehicles

The high voltage battery packs in electric vehicles are typically made up of multiple individual cells. They often have built-in venting or cooling elements for thermal management. Various situations can cause abnormal heating or pressure build up, such as an accident. This can lead to multiple safety risks and potential vehicle fire.