Accidents happen; it is a fact of life. While we hope you never have to deal with being in an auto accident, it is always a good idea to be prepared for what comes next. Whether it is a crash, fire or what we’ve experienced out here lately, flooding, knowing what to do will keep you and your automobile as safe as possible. A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) has some very unique components and as a result some extra precautions should be taken if you find yourself stranded with a damaged vehicle.
Let’s first look at flooding; we have seen several vehicles in the auto repair shop lately due to flooding, and special care should be taken if your HEV has been flooded. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a hybrid battery in a flooded vehicle may have high voltage and short circuits that can shock and cause fires. You should remain a safe distance away and do NOT attempt physical contact with your vehicle. The next step is to call 911 and advise them that an electric or hybrid-electric vehicle is involved.
In the case of a crash, always let emergency responders know that an EV or HEV is involved. It is important to always assume the hybrid battery, and associated components, are fully charged. Be aware that physical damage to the vehicle or high voltage (HV) battery may result in an immediate or delayed release of toxic and/or flammable gasses. Never touch exposed electrical components or the engine compartment, as a shock hazard may exist. Also, avoid contact with any leaking fluids and gases.
As with any vehicle, if for some reason you see sparks, smoke or flames originating from the vehicle, immediately exit and call 911. Remain a safe distance upwind and uphill from the fire as the smoke, vapors or gasses emanating from the vehicle can be toxic. Also, as with other HEV involved accidents, be sure to let 911 know that an EV or HEV is involved.
As a final thought, we’ve compiled a list of what we consider the top ten safe driving tips to help you avoid an accident altogether!
1. Don’t drive drunk
2. Don’t speed
3. Avoid distractions
4. Don’t drive drowsy
5. Always keep two hands on the steering wheel
6. Be extra careful in bad weather
7. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you
8. Keep an eye on the other drivers around you
9. Practice defensive driving and even better take a defensive driving course
10. Keep your vehicle well maintained