Dead battery in your flivver? It's easy enough to get your car started if you have a pair of jumper cables and can find someone who'll give you a jump from their battery.

But wait! Before going any further, do not even think of doing this yourself without eye protection. Batteries can and do explode during the process outlined below. When they do, tiny bits of shrapnel and battery acid can fly into your eyes with possibly serious consequences, including blindness.

If you have a pair of jumper cables in your trunk, either add a pair of protective goggles or throw out the jumpers and call a tow truck next time you need a jump.

That said, and assuming you are wearing goggles, here's what you do:

  • Make sure both cars are in park and not touching each other.
  • Identify the POSITIVE (red) end of one of the jumper cables. Attach the clamp to the POSITIVE (+) terminal of the dead battery.
  • Attach the other POSITIVE cable clamp on the other end of the jumper cable to the good battery's POSITIVE terminal.
  • Now, attach the NEGATIVE (black) jumper cable clamp to the good battery's NEGATIVE (-) post or terminal.
  • Finally, attach the remaining NEGATIVE jumper cable clamp to a good engine ground point on the dead battery's vehicle. Do this as far as possible from the dead battery. The reason for this? Positioning the clamp away from the battery lessens the likelihood that a spark will cause an explosion.
  • When the connection is made, start the healthy car's engine and let it run for a few minutes, then start the disabled car.
  • Once your car is running, remove the cables, reversing the order above.

What if ...
If you're unlucky enough to get battery acid and shrapnel in your eye, Prevent Blindness America says the first thing to do is to flush the eye with any drinkable liquid you can find -- water, milk, juice, a soft drink. Then get to an emergency room ... fast.

"Every second counts," said Tod Turrniff, Prevent Blindness America vice president. "The longer the acid sits in the eye, the greater the chances of a serious corneal burn or blindness."

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