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Are Hybrid Cars Hazardous


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									Are Hybrid Cars Hazardous?

With all of the talk of hybrid vehicles many people are singing their praises about these
lightweight, fuel-efficient cars. But are there hazards to driving a hybrid? Is there really
anything to worry about? Let’s take a closer look at potential hybrid hazards.

One of the biggest concerns often talked about when it comes to hybrid vehicles has to do
with those personnel responding to accidents involving a hybrid. Many traditional
looking cars such as the Honda Accord and Ford Escape are being built with hybrid
engines and rescuers might experience some difficulty at the scene of an accident
identifying one as such. The reason the identification is crucial is that as compared to
conventional gas powered cars, hybrid vehicles have a tremendous amount of electricity
coursing through them and thus could cause injury to rescuers and further injury to
drivers already hurt by the crash. Many people believe that the solution to this problem is
for automakers to affix a label on the driver’s side visor stating that it is a hybrid vehicle,
equip with all the features that this kind of car entails.

New hybrids are bursting onto the market at an increasing rate and therefore all first
responders need to be taught about ways in which hybrid cars differ from more traditional
non-hybrid models. Lack of education could result in safety measures being
compromised and injuries taking place. To use the battery in a hybrid to illustrate the
point, in some hybrid models the battery carries with it a charge of up to 500 volts and is
powered both by gasoline and electricity. Compare this with the voltage of a typical non-
hybrid car, which is in the area of 12 volts. First responders need to be taught where the
battery is located in a hybrid car and how to cut the cables without risking being
electrocuted by the high voltage that the battery puts out. This is particularly important
when machinery such as the Jaws of Life is required to physically remove a passenger in
imminent danger from a car. It cannot be emphasized enough, without proper training,
more serious injury, and even death, could result.

This problem is being addressed by manufacturers of hybrids with Honda and Toyota
going to the front of the line on safety procedures. Hybrid cars are being suited with color
codes so first responders can easily comprehend the flow of electricity in the car. Honda
hybrids use the color bright orange to designate the high-voltage power line which helps
reduce safety risks for rescuers responding to calls.

Concerns about hybrid hazards have led Honda and Toyota to create their own individual
safety guides for rescue personnel. Every fire department in the United States received a
copy of these guides to be made available for their staff to educate themselves. Toyota
has just completed new guides for its latest hybrid vehicles, the Highlander and Lexus.
These guides can easily be read online by any member of the public, whether they are
emergency workers or not.

In South Florida, with its many canals, many people have expressed concerns about the
hybrid hazards involved in water submersion, as these kinds of accidents are common in
this area of the state. Manufacturers of hybrid vehicles say that the only thing emergency
personnel need to keep in mind in regard to safety issues is to remember to make sure the
car’s ignition is turned off once it is out of the water.

Speaking of the car being turned off, that is another issue for hot debate when it comes to
talk of hybrid hazards. Hybrid cars are made differently than traditional gas powered
vehicles in that it is not always easy to tell if they are off or still running. Most traditional
cars one need only feel the hood of the car to make a correct determination but hybrids
can be tricky- a hybrid can appear to be turned off when in actual fact it is in silent
electric mode and very able to plow over an unsuspecting person if any movement or
pressure is applied to the accelerator. One possible solution to this serious hazard put
forth by the fire department in Texas is to place chocks under the wheels if it is not
known whether the car’s ignition is still on or not.

Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and
lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get car care products for your car from

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