To guard against this, ancillary circuits have fuses. The most common type of fuse is a short length of thin wire enclosed in a heatproof casing often glass. The size of the fuse wire is the thinnest that can carry the normal current of the circuit without overheating, and it is rated in amps.
All the electrical units of measurement are interrelated: a pressure of 1 volt causes a current of 1 amp to flow through a resistance of 1 ohm. Volts divided by ohms equal amps. For example, a light bulb with a resistance of 3 ohms, in a 12 volt system, consumes 4 amps.
A circuit usually includes more than one component, such as bulbs in the lighting circuits. It matters whether they are connected in series one after the other or in parallel side by side.
If the cable overheated, there could be a fire. The fuse prevents that happening, because its thin wire will melt and break the circuit long before the cable itself can heat up and burn. Some cars have only two fuses. One rated at about 30-50 amps protects components wired through the ignition switch — flashers, wipers, heater-motor and instruments.