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What should you do if your car catches fire?

Published on 14.09.2022

No one wants to be in a situation like this - their car starts to smoke and catches fire. Just this situation alone is difficult to cope with, and it becomes even more complicated when you are in a tunnel. What is the best way to respond when this happens?

A vehicle fire can have deadly consequences for the occupants. Fires in a tunnel structure also present a particularly hazardous problem, as panic, heat and smoke complicate the situation in a confined space. The fire from the vehicle is usually less of a risk - heavy smoke and the resulting lack of oxygen present a much greater hazard. In a critical situation like this, it is important to know exactly how to respond.

The most important rule in a tunnel fire is: Save your life and not your car! Passengers have to react quickly and focus on only a few things in this dangerous situation, but these few things are all the more important.

  1. Switch on the hazard warning lights to alert other road users
  2. If possible, drive out of the tunnel - otherwise, park on the right
  3. Switch off the engine
  4. Leave the ignition key in the ignition so that emergency services can move the vehicle if needed
  5. Use the emergency call point to signal the alarm
  6. Try to extinguish the fire using the equipment available in the tunnel, but without endangering yourself
  7. If the smoke is intense, leave the tunnel via an emergency exit or the nearest end of the tunnel

You should respond in a similar way if you see another car on fire: Switch on the hazard warning lights, keep a safe distance, switch off the engine, leave the ignition key in the ignition, activate the alarm at the emergency call station, try to extinguish the fire, provide first aid and leave the tunnel as quickly as possible. You should not turn around or back up under any circumstances!

Green is safe

There are currently 25 tunnels on Luxembourg's roads, each with different equipment depending on the length of the tunnel. In the longer tunnels, such as the Grouft, Gosselerberg and Stafelter on the A7 North motorway, escape galleries (marked in green to indicate that they are safe) are located between the two tunnel tubes. The opposite side, on the other hand, is marked in red and houses the emergency call button, a fire extinguisher and a water hose, which can be put to use by any road user. However, this is not a safe place with regard to smoke.
The Mondorf and Mersch tunnels are equipped with emergency exit doors that can be used to escape to the other side of the tunnel. Smaller tunnels, such as the Howald tunnel on the Trier A1, do not have this feature, and the nearest emergency exit is the nearest end of the tunnel.

As a general rule, all tunnels are equipped with all of the necessary safety features:

  • Emergency call button
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Ventilation
  • Cameras
  • Fire alarm cable
  • Escape galleries/Emergency escape doors
  • Carbon monoxide detection


 Don't forget to install the ACL app on your mobile phone. The Automobile Club's free app gives you fast and efficient assistance anytime, anywhere with eCall mobile, its emergency call and location feature.

Crédit photos : Guy Wolff



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