Whenever your battery needs checking or replacement, it most likely will take it into your service centre and never have to handle it yourself. However, safety must always be top of mind, and it’s still extremely important to be aware of the dangers so that you know what not to do.
The main reasons why batteries are dangerous if you don’t know what you’re dealing with is that they contain hazardous substances and while installed in your car are connected to the electrical system.
What makes vehicle batteries a safety and health hazard?
Electrical short circuit
This is one of the dangers most of us are aware of because we’ve likely experienced jump starting a flat battery at some point. When jumper cables are connected to a car battery incorrectly, the sparks we see are generated by electrical current, which we know can cause an astounding shock to our body!
Learn about: How to Jump Start a Car with Jumper Cables
Vibration can also create a short circuit as your battery becomes loose if it is not properly fastened. It should be held down in place with an approved battery clamp.
Battery acid contains corrosive and poisonous liquids which can cause burns and irritation when in contact with your skin.
- Avoid touching it or spilling it on your clothing as it will cause severe damage.
- Be careful of splashing as it can cause blindness if it comes in contact with your eyes.
- Avoid breathing in any of the fumes as they are toxic and can cause damage to lungs and mucous membranes.
A highly reactive fuel, when hydrogen atoms mix with oxygen there is the potential for a violent reaction resulting in an explosive release of energy. While there’s no danger of hydrogen and oxygen reacting at room temperature because it requires higher temperatures to ignite, it doesn’t take much and only a small spark can trigger a reaction, which can cause an explosion or fire.
When in operation whilst you’re driving, hydrogen and oxygen are produced inside the battery. These gases may also be emitted if the battery is disturbed, so it is extremely important to be cautious and keep any flames or form of ignition away from the battery.
Even a dead car battery can be hazardous if not handled properly. It still contains chemicals and can be an environmental hazard, so it’s imperative to dispose of it responsibly.
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