Car and vehicle fires

Each year we help around 650 people whose vehicle has caught fire. Fires are most likely to start when you're driving which can be a terrifying experience.

To reduce the chance of this happening to you check your car before you drive and keep up-to-date with your service and MOT.

A car fire being extinguished on the side of the road by a firefighter.
Car fire on side of road being extinguished

What to do if your car catches fire

We hope you never have to experience a car fire but here's what you should do if it happens:

  1. stay calm and don't panic
  2. put your hazard lights on
  3. pull over as soon as possible. Try to choose somewhere safe
  4. turn your wheels to prevent the car from rolling away, apply your handbrake and turn off the engine
  5. release the bonnet using the control in the car. Do not touch the bonnet or lift it up
  6. get everyone away from the vehicle and move to a safe area. If there is a barrier, stand behind it
  7. make yourself as visible as possible. Use hi-vis clothing and wave your arms to warn oncoming traffic
  8. dial 999 and ask for fire. Tell the person on the phone where you are and if your vehicle is a danger to others. Using the What3Words app can help us find your specific location.

Leaving hand sanitiser in your car

Hand sanitiser left in your car is not likely to start a fire. There is more information about the fire risk of hand sanitisers on the National Fire Chief Council’s website.