For many long-time locals, driving on Carova Beach comes as second nature. It's those doing it for the first time or just trying it out because it looks cool, who worry rescue crews.
Thursday marked at least the third car fire on the beach this summer. Chief Bill Vann of the Carova Beach Volunteer Fire Department says there may have been a fourth, but he can't remember. That's because he says it happens regularly every year.
The biggest mistake first-time beach drivers make is not reducing the air pressure in their tires, according to Chief Vann. Not bringing the air down to at least 20-24 lbs. puts too much strain on the transmission and engine. In doing so, Chief Vann says, the transmission fluid tends to overheat, bubble out, and ignite. And, too much strain on the engine could cause something under the hood of a car to burn out and start a fire.
Firefighters put out flames spewing from an SUV Thursday. Pictures circulating on Facebook show that the SUV was completely torched and totaled even before the flames were out.
Two weeks ago, Chief Vann says, they had a similar situation with a Hummer.
A driver for Bob's Wild Horse Tours passed by the torched SUV. He says car fires happen so often on the beach that locals jokingly call the tow guy "pirate of the dunes".
So, if you're thinking about taking a ride on the beach anytime soon, don't just try it out and "see how things go." The Chief says make sure you know what you're doing.