Accident with a Tesla: What you need to know and how to behave correctly!

Have you always wondered what you should consider in an emergency situation with a Tesla? We have summarized the most important points for you in this guide to give you some assistance in advance, whether you are involved or a helper. It is important to emphasize that every emergency situation is to be evaluated individually and not alltheoretical advice we give can be implemented in practice.

It is always important, depending on the emergency situation or accident, to inform rescue services first and provide assistance. In addition, every Tesla is equipped with the so-called eCall system. In the event of a serious accident and the airbags deploying, important data is automatically transmitted to the emergency call center. This includes the vehicle type, the number of people in the vehicle, the current GPS data and the vehicle's chassis number. Of course, a manual emergency call can also be made at any time, which is accessed via the SOS icon in the upper status bar of the touchscreen. Please note that when an emergency call is placed, all data is immediately and automatically forwarded to the corresponding emergency call center without an external service provider intervening. For this reason, a manual emergency call should only be placed in an emergency situation.

Often, the biggest concern in the event of an accident is that the high-voltage battery of an electric car will immediately start to burn. In most cases, this concern is completely unfounded, as modern electric cars are equipped with intelligent safety systems. Of course, each situation must also be evaluated individually and treated with the necessary respect. However, numerous studies and everyday experience show that electric cars are no more likely to catch fire in the event of an accident than vehicles with other types of drive. In the next points, you will learn which system is particularly in Tesla vehicles and which points should be observed.

The most important components in a Tesla are powered by the 12-volt battery, which is located in the front hood under the plastic access cover. The 12-volt battery is responsible for operating the safety system, airbags, power windows, door locks, trunk lock, touchscreen, and interior and exterior lighting. The high-voltage circuit in the Tesla charges the 12-volt battery, which in turn supplies the high-voltage contactors, allowing high-voltage current to circulate through the high-voltage battery.

As an important safety feature in electric vehicles, a high-voltage contactor is used to quickly and safely shut down the vehicle's high-voltage system in the event of an emergency or accident. The contactor disconnects the high-voltage battery from the rest of the vehicle's electrical system to minimize potential hazards. As a rule, the contactor is controlled by the vehicle electronics and can be triggered automatically or manually.

In the event of an accident, the pyro fuse of the high-voltage contactor can trip and disconnect the high-voltage battery from the vehicle. This is an important protective mechanism to protect the vehicle and occupants from further damage caused by the high-voltage battery. This also drains the 12-volt battery so that the above-mentioned components can no longer be supplied with power. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes for the 12-volt battery to be completely discharged.

It is important to know where the appropriate emergency releases are located in the Tesla in case the electronics stop working and doors have to be opened manually to free yourself or others.

  • In Tesla Model 3/Y and Model S/X, the front doors can be opened mechanically under the grab handles in the door by pulling the "emergency handle" upwards. From the outside, the doors can only be opened electrically.


  • For the Model 3 there is no emergency release for the rear doors.
  • According to Tesla, the Model Y rear does not have an emergency release, but there is a small cover in the felt in the side compartments of the rear doors under which there is an emergency release. However, it is very difficult to reach and not recommended.
  • The Model S has two emergency releases for the rear doors under the rear seat cushions.
  • To open the Falcon Wing doors on the Model X, the speaker grille on the door in question must be removed and the release pull down and toward the front of the vehicle. After unlocking, the door can be lifted manually.
  • The front trunk (frunk) can be opened from the outside by pulling the Zug eyelet cover is removed. Then pull the two cables out of the towing eye cover to expose the vehicle-side clamps. The frunk can then be opened with a 12-volt battery or booster.
  • Hint:If the Tesla is without power, the frunk can also be opened with a 9-volt block battery. If the vehicle is still powered, this is not possible!

Manual disconnection of the high-voltage battery from the vehicle is possible via the "emergency cable set", which is located at the front in the upper area of the frunk (note the information sign).



The towing mode in the Tesla can only be activated via the display if a 12V supply is available. If no more power is available, it is recommended to transport the vehicle with a crane tow truck.

Our tips:

Assuming the emergency situation/breakdown allows, I recommend you open all doors and trunks, at least slightly ajar, and do not close them until the 12-volt system shuts off. This way, everyone involved still has easy access to the vehicle at all times. The glove box and backrests also run off the 12-volt electrical system and cannot be operated once it is no longer available.

If necessary, you should back up the dashcam recordings and the corresponding USB stick in the glove compartment. The dashcam recordings can be backed up manually in the event of an incident by pressing the horn (if previously set accordingly) or tapping the dashcam icon on the touchscreen. In the event of an accident, the Tesla automatically saves corresponding recordings. However, the type and severity of the accident is also decisive here. Please make sure that there is always enough memory available.

Keep important items such as high-visibility vests, the first-aid kit and the warning triangle within easy reach and accessible at all times. Make sure to carry the appropriate quantity of high-visibility vests. There may also be differences from country to country, so inform yourself accordingly before driving abroad.

Carry the Tesla emergency manual in the glove compartment at all times. It lists important and safety-relevant items that can also help the emergency services on site. Keep it handy at all times. For this purpose, I recommend our 2befair on-board folder. This is specially designed for the smaller glove compartments of the Tesla models. In addition, a pad and a ballpoint pen are integrated in our on-board folder. So you can make important notes at any time.

If you should carry dogs in the trunk, make sure at all times that they can also be led through an emergency exit, for example, in the event of a rear collision over the folded back seat. The rear seat backrests also run electrically and can only be folded down if the 12-volt electrical system is still active.

One last important point: Stay away from high-voltage components! Depending on the situation, touching them can be life-threatening. High-voltage components are marked in the emergency manual. High-voltage lines are marked in the vehicle with orange cables.

You can also find everything you need to know in our YouTube video: "Accident with the Tesla - What you should know!

All important information can be downloaded from Tesla at any time: