Prius accident dangers

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by moshe1436, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. moshe1436

    moshe1436 Junior Member

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    Not that I'm expecting to be in an accident, but I've been hearing a lot of talk lately about the dangers of the high voltage system if you are in an accident, especially if the vehilcle is submerged. Are there any indicents of people being shocked by touching the body after an accident? Let's hope this is just a bunch of "hype" by those trying to put down the Prius!
     
  2. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    No, there are no reports of this. In the event of an accident, the HV is cut off at the battery.

    You are much more likely to die from a gasoline fire.

    Tom
     
  3. Danny Hamilton

    Danny Hamilton Active Member

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    From family and friends? From news reporters? From mechanics? From Firefighters? From articles on the internet (link please)? Where are you hearing this?
     
  4. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    If I was underwater in my Prius I would be A LOT more worried about lack of oxygen, and getting the hell out and to the surface rather than getting a shock from the battery.

    If your vehicle is so shredded that the wiring is that exposed to be a shock hazzard, chances are you are already dead!!! Sorry!!!

    P.S. Spell check is a good thing!!

    73 de Pat KK6PD
     
  5. jelloslug

    jelloslug It buffed right out!

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    Electricity is not magic, it only follows the path of least resistance. To get shocked you have to be part of the circuit. Even if the car managed to become live from the HV battery (an extremely unlikely event) you would still have to complete the circuit with the other pole of the battery to get a shock. As for a water situation: the water would most likely short out the battery and that's it. The big fuse would blow and then the water could possible short out the individual cells if water gets into the battery case. This situation would not make the car live, nor would it shock you even if you were very close to the battery during the event.
     
  6. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    Man, I feel like a "repeater". :)

    First, IF you somehow managed to cut through the -steel- protecting the cables that go from the traction battery to the HSD, all you would have to do is have a tiny amount of current go to the chassis and the relay in the battery box would disconnect -both- battery lines, and we're talking of current from either the +ve or the -ve lead. It has a "ground fault breaker". Immersing the car in water -will- trip this circuit.

    Second, IF you got in an accident that was violent enough to expose the electricals, the shock sensor would trip the above ground fault breaker or power breaker, so you wouldn't even have a chance to test the ground fault part.

    This is the same relay that opens when you power off the car. It's -inside- the steel traction battery box.

    Worry about the duplex outlets on the walls of your house. They are -MUCH- more dangerous!
     
  7. moshe1436

    moshe1436 Junior Member

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    I've heard it from guys who are EMT's and firefighters who claim they have had special training on the Prius. Maybe it's all a bunch of bunk!
     
  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Firefighters and EMTs do get special training for hybrids. Mostly it's because of the fear factor for something new. They routinely cut cables in cars, and it only makes sense that they would fear electrocution from the high voltage system. The training teaches them where the cables run, and helps squash all of the silly rumors.

    Tom
     
  9. moshe1436

    moshe1436 Junior Member

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    Sorry about the one word that was mispelled. I think you'll find there is no such word as ALOT in the dictionary -- it should be A LOT - so I return the comment to you -- be sure you're always perfect before you criticize others!
     
  10. BIGGDOGG

    BIGGDOGG New Member

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    I have a friend whos an EMT and he own a prius. He said the training was worthless.
     
  11. moshe1436

    moshe1436 Junior Member

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    Thanks for verifiying the fact that there apparently is some type of "training" -- whether it's worthwhile or not is probably up for discussion. For an EMT who doesn't own a Prius it probably sounds like a big deal. Obviously, your friend knows more about it than I do. So thanks for setting us all straight on this topic -- end of discussion!
     
  12. moshe1436

    moshe1436 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the information.
     
  13. Dave_PH

    Dave_PH New Member

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    Just pray we don't see Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles. There'll be mushroom clouds after every accident




























    That was sarcasm. Really.
     
  14. N3FOL

    N3FOL Member

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    Hope you don't get into an accident. I personally do not worry about getitng zapped by my Prius. Even though I don't know a lot about the electrical characteristics of my car, I still trust that it will protect me from an accident.

    Drive safely.
     
  15. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    There is a lot of fear and ignorance amongst fire/rescue personel. They hear about the SKS that the key doesn't need to be near the car and it could still run!
    I say, OK...what are you supposed to do with a conventional car? They say, chock the wheels, look for exposed dangers and turn the ignition off. I say...yup, do the same think with a Prius...oh, and other conventional vehicles (non-hybrids) also use SKS so you may as well get familiar with the technology.

    They say you can get HV shock trying to rescue someone. Ok, it's simple...1) The car is designed to disconnect the vehicle from the HV system in an accident. 2) In the unlikely event that doesn't occur DON'T CUT THE ORANGE CABLE! 3) In the Prius the orange cables run in areas that are highly unlikely to be cut into or that the rescue personel would be exposed to.

    they say...but some hybrids cables run over the door and down the A-pillar and not all HV cables are orange...some are Purple.
    I say...that may be true and you do need to be careful. There should probably be an industry standard requiring the HV cables to all be orange. As things stand the Prius outnumbers every other hybrid by at least 10:1...so know it inside and out. Then memorize the exceptions.

    Here's a nice article to refer your F/R friends to:
    Hybrid Hazards Present New Challenges

    In that you'll find links to Toyota and Hybrid Emergency Response guides as well as this apropos quote:

    Shaw added that concerns about extrication operations while hybrids are submerged are unfounded.

    "There is no potential for electric shock if the vehicle is partially or fully submersed in water,†he said. "Simply touching the vehicle's body and performing normal extrication tasks will not cause electric shock. Responders will not be electrocuted while standing in water and touching the vehicle's body."
     
  16. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Another great link for Emergency Responders including links to Emergency Response guides for all (I think) hybrid vehicles.
    Emergency Responder Guide Lines




    Hybrid Myths
    Question: Will I be electrocuted if I touch a hybrid vehicle in a crash?
    Answer: Other than if an external power source such as a down power line, no and this is no different than safety provided for a conventional vehicle rescue. The hybrid high voltage system is isolated from the body chassis.

    Question: Will I be electrocuted if I touch a hybrid vehicle submersed in water?
    Answer: No, while there maybe some leakage, it will not be detectable simply by touching the body or frame of the vehicle.

    Question: Is it necessary to call for a HAZMAT response if the high voltage battery pack is ruptured during a crash?
    Answer: No, there is not enough electrolyte in the individual modules or in the entire battery pack. Leakage will be very minimal if at all, and usually will be contained with in the modules even if the casing was breached during a catastrophic crash. The electrolyte is considered a gel, having the consistency of a machine oil and is absorbed within a fiber material between the metal plates. Spills can be cleaned up with a suitable absorbent for a strong base, diluted with water and neutralized with vinegar.

    Question: At a recent Toyota hybrid crash we saw a clear fluid leak and grayish vapor coming from the trunk, was this from the high voltage NiMH battery pack?
    Answer: No, there are 12V conventional automotive batteries, in a severe rear end or offset crash the 12V battery maybe subject to impact. The reaction you saw is similar to that of a conventional vehicle when the 12V automotive battery is ruptured during a crash.

    Question: At a crash, is there a chance that the high voltage system will electrify the vehicle's body chassis?
    Answer: No, there are several automatic sensory devices that will stop the high voltage flow. The SRS ECU upon activation of the airbags, will also send a signal to the hybrid system computer, the computer will then open the high voltage relays to the HV high voltage battery pack; preventing the high voltage flow from the battery pack. In essence, there are checks and balances to prevent this situation.
     
  17. Dave_PH

    Dave_PH New Member

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    But can Billy Bob EMT actually read? I can't believe how little they pay them. Walmart probably hires away the bright ones.
     
  18. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

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    That was uncalled for. You're right that EMTs aren't paid much. Most could go elsewhere but don't because they love the work.

    To Moshe1436: Speaking as a fire service paramedic, I would say that if your EMT and firefighter friends came away from their training with these unfounded fears, something is woefully wrong with the training. Good information is out there and has been for years, starting with the material that Evan linked. Competent vehicle extrication instructors will use this information in their classes.
     
  19. Bobwho

    Bobwho New Member

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    Having done in 2004 what is probably one of the first emergency responder programs in the Chicago area (with Toyota) the firemen can read and wanted to know about the car.

    The only funny thing that happened was they wanted to cut my car apart.

    The program stresses what NOT to cut when extracting people from a vehicle that has a supplementary restrains system. More emergency people are hurt by the airbags going off than any fire. The next most hazardous thing is the potassium hydroxide in the NiMh battery. That one got their attention, they did not know that you cannot depend on leather gloves to protect their hands from the corrosive material in the battery. The Toyota response was "You are more likely to be hurt by the acid in the unprotected 12 volt battery than you are the high voltage battery." Also the high voltage battery is internally fused. Any accident is likely to short out the battery blowing the internal fuse. Think of it this way - you cut the cable with the steel casing, instant short and blown fuse.

    Buy the Bently service manual and see what they have to say about the systems involved.

    Review:

    The battery is cased in steel, there is a ground fault on the cables, the battery has an internal fuse.

    If you are worried about water entry get an escape tool to break the glass. That is the real problem with a water landing. POWER windows do not open under water and the door is never going to open once the car settles in the mud underwater. Escape is the real issue here as it is with all cars under water. Oh and have a seat belt cutter handy as there is no one else that is going to cut you free.

    Carry a belt tool with a knife, and a pliers to break the glass. I do.
     
  20. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    How many firefighters/EMT's have been injured or killed during a Prius extraction? How many firefighters/EMT's have been injured or killed due to front/side/curtain airbags deploying on them?

    http://www.airbagsystems.org/

    http://www.airbagsystems.org/id26.html

    I'd also like to voice my concerns, that others have raised, about the so-called "training" being given if a firefighter/EMT still has urban-legend sort of worries. Most likely, the airbag training was also completely worthless, and could get them killed at the scene of a real accident
     
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