We Need Louder Cars

When we think in terms of decibel level and vehicles we commonly think more in terms of making them quieter, not louder. We invented mufflers for a reason. With the advent of electric and hybrid cars however,  we created the opposite problem, namely cars that are too quiet.

Super quiet cars are a problem for visually impaired pedestrians who rely on the sound of the engine to alert them to the fact that a car is coming. When they don’t hear the sound of the engine they assume they are safe, putting them at risk.

Because of this the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a sound requirement to federal safety standard in order to protect visually impaired pedestrians. “This new standard requires hybrid and electric passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), and low speed vehicles (LSVs) to produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard.

It is estimated that this addition to the standard will result in almost 2,400 fewer injuries each year.

The goal is to have all vehicles compliant by September 2018.

Safety Tips to Jump-Start a Car

The weather has started to cool down and we are transitioning to winter. With it turning cold, maybe some morning you may go out to start your car and the battery is dead. Well then you need to get a jump start. Most people think they know how to use jumper cables on a car’s battery, but you’d be amazed how many people do it the wrong way. Follow these suggestions from the National Safety Council when getting your car back on the road.


How to Jump-Start a Gas-Powered Automobile

  • Check your owner’s manual before jump-starting your car or using it to jump-start another car. Some new cars had specific instructions or prohibit jump-starting.
  • If it is OK to jump-start, attach the jumper cables correctly.
    1. Clamp one cable to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. Don’t let the positive cable touch anything metal other than the battery terminals.
    2. Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
    3. Connect one end of the negative (-) cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.
    4. Connect the other end of the negative cable to metal on the engine block on the car with the dead battery. Don’t connect it to the dead battery, carburetor, fuel lines or moving parts.

    1. Stand back and start the car with the good battery.
    2. Start the stalled car.
    3. Remove the cables in reverse order.

How to Jump-Start a Diesel-Powered Automobile

Even though diesel-powered vehicles can have dual batteries or one oversized battery, it’s possible to jump-start a diesel from the battery on a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. If your diesel won’t start due to a dead battery, follow the steps here to jump it safely.

To avoid confusion, these instructions call the vehicle with the dead battery the disabled vehicle and the one you’re jumping the start from the source vehicle. Follow these steps to jump-start a dead diesel battery:

Make sure that both vehicles are in Park or Neutral with the parking brakes on.

1.    Turn on the heater on the disabled diesel vehicle.

This protects the electrical system from surges in voltage.

2.    Make sure that the lights and other electrical accessories on the disabled diesel vehicle are off.

A vehicle with dual batteries usually has thicker cables on one of the batteries. Attach the jumper cables to the battery that has thicker cables. If either vehicle has dual batteries with cables of the same thickness, use either battery for the jump. If a vehicle has only one battery, just be sure to hook the cables up in the proper order.

3.    Connect the clamp on one of the jumper cables to the positive terminal of the disabled vehicle’s battery.

The positive terminal should have a (+) or a red cover on it.

4.    Connect the other end of the same jumper cable to the positive terminal of the source vehicle.

5.    Connect one end of the other jumper cable to the negative terminal (-) of the source vehicle.

6.    Connect the other end of that jumper cable to an unpainted, metallic part of the disabled vehicle.

Use the bracket that keeps the hood up, but any such part will do as long as it’s not near the battery, belts, or any other moving parts of the engine.

7.    Start the engine on the source vehicle.

8.    Start the engine on the disabled vehicle.

Let both engines run for a minute or two, more if the battery has been dead for a long time.

9.    Turn off the engine of the source vehicle.

Leave the disabled vehicle’s engine running.

10.  Remove the cable from the unpainted metal part of the disabled vehicle.

11.  Disconnect the cable from the positive terminals of both vehicles.

12.  Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the source vehicle.

13.  Drive the disabled vehicle around for at least 15 minutes to ensure that the battery is fully charged.

If you justify your have a dead diesel vehicle and the battery dies the next time you try to start the car, you probably need a new battery. Be sure to get the proper one for your vehicle’s make, model, and year.

Road safety tip: Be careful when jump-starting from a hybrid car

While driving a new hybrid car and a conventional vehicle are similar experiences, important difference still exist. Maintenance, too, can be more complicated, experts say.

In winter weather, both hybrids and regular cars can potentially lose battery charge and become impossible to start normally. Drivers can generally jump-start drained hybrids from other cars. However, trying to jump a drained conventional car from a hybrid can be extremely dangerous.

Hybrid cars generally use battery systems far more powerful than those of a regular vehicle, given their need to power a large electric motor in addition to the rest of a car’s usual devices. This can apply excessive power to a conventional car’s circuits, and prove to be quite unsafe if a motorist accidentally touches a live jumper cable to a metal surface.


Jump-starting a hybrid car is similar to jump-starting a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Again  Check your owner’s manual before jump-starting your car or using it to jump-start another car. Some new cars had specific instructions or prohibit jump-starting.

Whenever you jump-start a hybrid, be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s jump-start procedures. They can be found in the owner’s/operator’s manual, usually located in the vehicle’s glove box. And if you have any questions about the procedure, call in a professional. You don’t want to be poking around under the hood or in the high-voltage traction motor battery compartment unless you’re a trained and qualified technician. If a part says “Don’t Touch” or “Don’t Take This Apart,” then don’t touch it or take it apart. There may be 500 volts inside.

Step 1

Turn off both cars. Be sour to turn off something that races on electricity as well such as the radio, GPS and air conditioning. The sudden rise of power could be bad these devices.

Step 2

Pull the cap release lever on both cars. Be sour to pedestal bridge bearing open each one hood with the bolt under the cap to to ensure they stay up while you are working.

Step 3

Connect one end of the pullover cables to the positive Limit on the hybrid vehicle. Attach the other end of the same Colored cable to the positive Limit of the operation car.

Step 4

Clamp the end of the other pullover cable to the negative Limit of the operation car. On a Prius, To connect them to remain end on an unpainted metal bandage on the car. For a Honda, there is a to melt strap, generally located towards the front of the engine compartment. Control the owner’s handbook if you’re Dubious To place the strap.

Step 5

Start the operation vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. Now beginning your hybrid car.

Step 6

Remove the cables, carefully, in the opposed order you connected them.


  • Wear a pair of splash-proof, polycarbonate goggles with the designation Z-87 on the frame. This certifies that your goggles are meant for activities such as automotive repair.
  • Batteries contain sulfuric acid, which gives off flammable and explosive gas when a battery is charged or jump-started. Never smoke or operate anything that may cause a spark when working on a battery.
  • Whenever you change the oil, take time to check your battery for damage such as cracks, corrosive materials and loose wires.
  • Make sure you have a pair of jumper cables that are free of rust and corrosion and have no exposed wires. (Never use electrical tape to cover exposed wires.)
  • Make sure you buy a battery that is recommended in your car owner’s manual.
  • Never throw an automobile battery in a garbage dumpster or leave it in a parking lot, especially if it is cracked or damaged. Take it to a service station and have it disposed of properly.
  • Never jump-start your battery if your car’s fluids are frozen.
  • When buying a new battery, make sure that its terminals are sturdy and large enough to allow the clamps of a pair of jumper cables to attach easily when jump-starting.
  • Always call a professional if you think there might be trouble you can’t handle, or you can’t remember how to jump-start a vehicle.
  • Prevent Blindness America offers a battery safety sticker that lists the correct steps to take when jump-starting a dead battery. To get one, call 1-800-331-2020.  Or go to http://preventblindness.org/safety/battery.html

When using a portable battery booster, the process is much the same.

Connect the positive clamp of the booster cable to the positive clamp of the dead battery. Then connect the negative cable to the engine block or other grounded metal away from the battery.

The National Safety Council (NSC) offers an additional suggestion: if you are buying jumper cables or a portable battery booster, buy the best quality you can afford. Look for well-insulated clamps and 8-gauge wire. (Note: the lower the wire gauge number, the heavier the gauge.) Under the heavy electrical load of boost starting, lightweight cables may not be able to deliver enough current to start some engines. In fact, they have been known to melt in the user’s hand.

If your battery is three-years old or older and you haven’t had it checked, it’s a good preventive measure to do so, suggests the NSC. A battery’s power is reduced as the temperature drops. And that’s when the engine’s starting demands are greatest.

Information provided by the National Safety Council and Prevent Blindness. Org.

Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of  Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau