The Main Function of an Ignition Safety Switch

Engines run exactly the way how people made it. There’s always a chance that there will be some error or mishap, which will cause the vehicle to start and move in an uncontrolled manner. We’ve heard of cases where drivers were thrown out of their seats after starting the car. Yes, this happens not only in cars but in all motor vehicles like boats and planes.

Starting an engine is not as simple as we imagine. It’s not like turning on our light switch in the bedroom and worry no more! It’s not like that. When starting a motor vehicle, we need to have precautions. Good thing is that vehicles nowadays already have those safety devices to prevent accidents from happening.

What is the Ignition Switch?

Ignition Switch is also known as the “start switch”. It is also sometimes called a ” starter switch”. This is the part where we insert the key and turn to the start position. This is where the control system in our car starts. It sets off the main electrical system for the vehicle.

Let’s make our own bodies as an example. When we wake up, we open our eyes, we stretch our bodies, we take time and continue lying down. We exercise our minds by thinking and sometimes go back to sleep. We are like engines and we need time while we let our eyes adjust to the light. Our muscles need to stretch so it will be ready for what it will go through the whole day.

The same goes for engines. When you first start an engine from a long rest, for example in the morning, you need to warm it up. There is a process you need to follow some steps in waking up your car’s engine. Our body and us should coordinate to function well.

What Happens when we turn the Ignition Switch on?

When we insert a key in the Ignition Switch and turn on to start position, a small amount of current will pass through the Neutral Safety Switch. From there, the current will flow to a Starter Selenoid. This will allow current to go through the battery cables going to the Starter Motor. The starter motor now will start up the engine. The piston now will create a sucking action that will bring an “Air/ fuel” mixture into the cylinder. The Ignition System will create a spark using the mixture. If it is the right time and the compression in the engine is high enough, the engine will then start.

What is an Ignition Safety Switch?

An Ignition Safety Switch prevents the engine from starting, not until the transmission is in the right position. This is a “safety” device that stops the engine when the operator falls off or thrown out from the proper driving/ operating position.

Neutral Safety Switch Versus Clutch Safety Switch

Neutral Safety Switch is for automatic-equipped vehicles. The switch is off or closed when the gear selector is in Neutral or Park.

Clutch Safety Switch is for manual transmission vehicles. This has the same function as the Neutral Safety Switch. The difference is, this one needs the clutch pedal pressed to the floor before turning the key to start the engine.

Both safety switches have the same purpose:

– to not allow the car to start, unless the transmission is in neutral or park – for automatic vehicles, or the clutch pedal pressed – for the manual vehicles.

Imagine this, you are in deep sleep, then someone slapped you in the face, really hard. What do you think would happen? We will be your reaction? I asked 5 people with this question and their answers were the same – they’ll slapback, or even punch the person in front of them. Whoever they’ll see first when they open their eyes.

Engines are like us as well, needing time to be ready before we start up with anything, or even start up our day. We need to prepare our mind, relax, think first, pause for a while before doing anything. We need to condition our mind and body before starting with any work.

Cars or any engine will need a little time before starting. If you will start the car right away, without having the car in neutral or park, or not pressing on the clutch pedal, your car will go gaga. It will run in an uncontrolled direction. The result is an accident.

Ignition Safety Switch in Boats

Mentioned above, Ignition Safety Switch is not only for cars or vehicles. They are also important in boats. Many sea accidents happen because of boats losing control because the man operating it got pushed away. There are also cases of people who have been run over by their own boat. This is because an unmanned boat tends to run in hard, fast circles. This is the reason why now, all boats and personal watercraft have Emergency Ignition Safety Switch. The safety switches in boats work not the same as those in cars.

The switch is being attached to a lanyard with a clip on the other end. Attach the clip to your body, may it be your wrist or life jacket. If you’re thrown out of your seat, the other end of the lanyard will disconnect out from the switch. This means the engine will turn off.

The Main Function

May it is in vehicles or in watercraft, Ignition Safety Switch has only one main function – to prevent accidents. Vehicles or boats will not go and hit someone else if we’ll only follow the safety rules. Let’s always remember: safety switches will only work if we do our part. In cars, have it in neutral or park or have the clutch depressed before starting the engine. In boats, always, make sure that you clipped the other end of the lanyard to your body part or your life jacket. Our cars and the other engine-operated machines are now designed with safety devices. Let’s be knowledgeable about it. 

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