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How can severe burns happen during a car accident?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Automobile Accidents

Car accidents can have life-altering consequences, and one of the most severe and harrowing outcomes is the occurrence of severe burns. The intensity of a collision can create a perfect storm for individuals involved in accidents.

Exploring the factors that contribute to severe burns during car accidents can give you insight into what steps to take next.

Role of impact forces

The sheer force generated during a car accident is often underestimated. The collision of two or more vehicles can result in a violent transfer of energy, causing vehicles to crumple and deform. In this chaos, fuel tanks may rupture, leading to the release of highly flammable substances. When ignited, these substances can cause intense and immediate fires, enveloping the accident site in flames.

Fuel ignition and rapid spread

Modern vehicles have various fluids inside, such as gasoline, diesel and hydraulic fluids, that can start a fire. When a collision occurs, these substances may leak and come into contact with hot engine components or sparks, initiating a rapid and ferocious fire.

The spread of flames can be remarkably swift, especially in situations where emergency responders may not be able to intervene immediately. In fact, thermal burns make up the vast majority of burn injuries at 86%, while electrical ones trail behind at 4% and chemical burns are only at 3%.

Airbag deployment and chemical burns

While airbags should protect occupants by preventing direct impact with hard surfaces, their deployment can also contribute to burn injuries. Airbags release hot gases upon inflation, and in some cases, these gases can cause severe burns upon contact with the skin. The rapid nature of airbag deployment leaves little time for occupants to react, amplifying the risk of burns in the aftermath of a collision.

Escape challenges

Severe burns are part of the challenges victims face in escaping a burning vehicle. Doors may become jammed due to the impact, and windows may shatter, causing additional obstacles for those attempting to exit. The urgency of the situation, combined with the chaos of the accident scene, creates a nightmarish scenario for individuals seeking to escape the engulfing flames.

Raising awareness about the importance of vehicle safety is important. As technology advances, people need to develop measures that mitigate the risk of severe burns in the aftermath of collisions.