Jump-Starting Your Car

Every year, many people suffer severe eye injuries because they do not take proper precautions while jump-starting their car. A spark caused by hooking up the jumper cables can ignite fumes and cause the battery to explode. Battery acid and flying battery parts can strike your face and eyes and can blind you.

Here are a few simple precautions to avoid a serious injury:

  • Wear protective goggles during all phases of the procedure. Keep a pair attached to your jumper cables.
  • Put out cigarettes before opening the hood. Use a flashlight, not a match, to look under the hood at night.
  • Be certain the vehicles that are being jumped are not in contact with each other.
  • Do not allow the cable clamps to touch each other.
  • Do not lean over the battery during the jump-starting process.
  • Attach the positive (+) cable (red) to the positive terminal of the dead battery first. Then attach the other end of the positive cable to the good battery.
  • Attach the negative (-) cable (black) to the negative terminal of the good battery. Then attach the other end of the negative cable to the engine block away from the negative terminal. Do not attach a cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery.
  • Once the engine is started, carefully remove the cables in reverse order. Again, do not allow the clamps to touch.

If an injury does occur, contact your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) or go to the emergency room immediately.

(c) 2007 The American Academy of Ophthalmology

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This post was written by Rob Schertzer