Why is battery safety important?
Each year, nearly 6,000 motorists suffer serious eye injuries or even
blindness because of improperly jump-starting a dead vehicle battery.
All vehicle batteries contain sulfuric acid and produce hydrogen and
oxygen gases. If the hydrogen gas comes into contact with a spark, the
battery can explode, sending pieces of the battery and acid flying.
Pieces of the battery can cut into the eye, while the sulfuric acid can
severely burn the delicate eye tissue.
What should you do if battery acid comes in contact with an eye?
The injured motorist should flush the affected eye with the first
drinkable liquid available, such as water, milk, juice or a soft drink.
The longer you wait, the greater the chances of a serious eye injury.
Flush the eye for at least 15 minutes before seeking emergency medical
Tips for safely jump-starting a vehicle
1. Motorists should own a pair of jumper cables tested and approved by
the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Jumper cables that are not in
good condition can actually be dangerous to the person jump-starting the
car. Damaged cables may produce sparks, which can lead to battery
explosion. Purchase cables that are at least 12-feet long and color
2. In addition to jumper cables, every vehicle should have the following
essentials: splash-proof, polycarbonate safety goggles for eye
protection; a flashlight; and a step-by-step guide for jump-starting a
3. When jump-starting, remember:
- Turn off lights, heater and other electrical loads on vehicles.
- Set parking brakes.
- Make sure batteries are the same voltage.
- Cover the vent caps of both batteries with a damp cloth.
- Attempt to jump-start a vehicle with a frozen battery.
- Allow the two vehicles to touch each other.
- Allow the jumper cables to touch each other.
- Lean over the battery when making connections.
5. Preventative maintenance is the best defense against vehicle failure.
Check car batteries for cracks or corrosion before winter sets in, or,
in warmer climates, before the summer heats up.