Imagine the scenario: You go out to your vehicle and try to start it – and you hear nothing. Not the roar of the engine, not even the click of the starter.

If you find yourself with a dead car battery, you can jump start it instead of waiting for roadside assistance. You’ll need jumper cables, safety goggles, gloves and the help of someone with a working vehicle.

Set the stage with these tips from AAA: Move the “jumper” car close to the “dead” car, ideally nose to nose with enough room to walk between them. Put both cars into park (or neutral for manual transmission), set the parking brakes and pop the vehicles’ hoods. Turn off the cars’ radios, lights, heaters, etc., and disconnect all add-on electrical accessories, such as your cell phone charger. Remove the keys from the ignition, and, if either car uses a keyless ignition system, move the “smart fob” at least 10 feet away from the vehicle before connecting the jumper cables.

Remove any jewelry from your body because metal contacting the battery terminals can cause a short, resulting in sparks. Don goggles and gloves. The battery contains poisonous acidic electrolyte, so do not allow any battery fluids to come into contact with skin, clothing or the vehicle. If battery fluid comes into contact with skin or eyes, immediately wash the affected area with water and seek medical attention. Do not lean over the battery while you’re working on it, and do not set any tools on top of it, as metal tools can cause sparks.

Note: Attempting to jump-start a frozen battery or one low on electrolyte may cause the battery to rupture or explode, warns the AAA. So, before jump starting the car, if possible, examine the dead battery’s electrolyte level. Most of today’s batteries are sealed maintenance free batteries, designed to minimize electrolyte loss, explains Edmunds – so, if that applies to your battery, you can skip this step. If you have an old-style battery, it will have two semi-rectangular vent caps on top of the battery. One bears the warning label “Danger/Poison” and the other includes warnings and a recycling seal, explains Hagerty Insurance. Remove these with a flathead screwdriver, then look at each of the six cells to ensure that the fluid level reaches even with the bottom of the well beneath the vent cap. If necessary, add distilled water without overfilling the cells.

During freezing temperatures, examine the battery for a bulging case (or ice in the cells if you can open the vent caps). If you see either of these signs, allow it to thaw before attempting to jump start it.

Also, check your vehicle’s manual, advises the AAA, as some newer vehicles or those that use alternative fuel warn that jump starting them may damage the electrical system.

Jump Starting Steps

1. Think of the first step as: dead red to good red. Attach the red jumper cable to the dead car battery’s positive terminal. Don’t let the other head of the jumper cable touch anything because this may cause a spark, electrical shocks or even lead to a fire or more serious injury, warns Advance Auto Parts.

Now, connect that side of the red cable to the positive terminal on the battery of the good (i.e. “jumper”) car.

2. Think of this step as: good black to ground. Attach the black cable to the good car’s black (negative) terminal. Do not allow the unattached head of the jumper to touch anything before you attach it to the dead car’s solid, unpainted metal frame. You could use one of the metal struts that holds open the hood, suggests Sears, or an unpainted bolt.

3. Start the good car. Wait three minutes or so.

4. Start the dead car. If the engine won't turn over, reposition the negative jumper cable to achieve better contact, advises Advance Auto Parts. If it still won't start, the battery’s probably not the issue. Let both cars run for another few minutes, then turn on the headlights and heater blower motor on the jumped car, says the AAA, in order to provide an electrical pathway for possible voltage spikes when disconnecting the jumper cables.

5. Remove the cables in reverse order without letting the cable heads touch anything. Disconnect the black cable from jumped car, then the black cable from the jumper-car. Remove the red cable from the jumper-car and then the red cable from the jumped car.

6. Turn off the headlights and heater blower motor in the jumped car and let it run for a few more minutes, then drive it to your destination. Don’t turn it off for at least 20 minutes. In the very near future, consider getting your battery looked at to see if it needs replacing.

These steps should get you on the road safely and more quickly than waiting for help. Safe travels!