October is Auto Battery Safety Month, and drivers who want to take advantage of the efforts launched in this month - and beyond - should be prepared to look under the hood. Approaching any type of battery without the proper knowledge can result in personal injury as well as damage to a vehicle, so all motorists should make sure they have at least a basic understanding of how to handle the situation before diving in.
Focus on car batteries
For many motorists, the main focus during Auto Battery Safety Months will be on how to handle a car battery. The main purpose behind these efforts is to prevent harm to individuals and their vehicles, and these campaigns are not without basis.
According to data compiled by Prevent Blindness American, each year there are more than 6,000 eye injuries resulting from accidents with auto batteries. These situations may involve cuts to the eye from flying fragments or hazardous chemicals from the battery coming into contact with the eyes. Other common injuries include skin burns and cuts to the hand.
"Auto Battery Safety Month is a great time to raise awareness on how to avoid risks when changing a car battery, as well as on how to properly and safely jump start your car," said Brian Hafer, a vice president at AutoMD.com. "... Whether dead or not, batteries can release and explosive hydrogen gas, and all it takes is a small spark to ignite the gas."
Many potentially dangerous situations arise when batteries explode or are in some way damaged and the driver tries to rectify the problem. This is not restricted to just automobiles, however.
Not just under the hood
Caring for auto batteries is of the utmost importance, but there are several other batteries found around your garage that need to be handled properly. For example, many drivers make it a point to have equipment like truck lifts, such as those that come in handy when making truck modifications or installing a lift kit, sitting around the garage. Dealing with the batteries and gear that are a part of these systems needs to be done properly.
All batteries should be expertly maintained. This usually involves inspecting them for damage or corrosion, as well as cleaning the work area to make sure there is nothing that can spark or be damaged by the battery acid. Similarly, you should be checking individual battery chargers to guarantee that the problem does not lie with this other accessory.
Finally, whenever you are dealing with batteries for any piece of equipment, you should keep all types of open flames away. This means never smoking or bringing any kind of spark into the work environment.
Safety tips for any scenario
No matter what type of battery you are dealing with, you should be practicing the best safety tips. Before dealing with any unknown machinery or car batteries, be sure to read over the owner's manual, which may have insight into the best way of managing the gear. Wearing gloves and eye protection is also important for any car owner, as is checking equipment, such as jumper cables, to ensure they are in proper working condition.
Additionally, you should never try to jump start a frozen battery, and you always need to make sure the ignition is off in both vehicles when jump starting a car.
Most importantly, you should only handle the auto battery if you know what you are doing and have the proper tools. While it may be tempting to pop the hood and take care of a problem yourself, this can only be safely and efficiently done by owners with the know-how and equipment.