Auto accidents involving power lines
In traumatic situations, it may be instinctive to flee as soon as possible. A car accident is a good example of this. However, if you are in a car accident with a power line, the safest place is often inside the car.
Two Indiana teenagers, Ashley Taylor and Lee Whitaker, experienced such a traumatic situation themselves in 2009 when they were in an auto accident involving power lines. Fortunately, earlier that week they had attended a program at their school that warned of the dangers of car accidents with power poles. Lee and Ashley made sure nobody left the car and warned those who came upon the accident to stay far away.
Power poles carry high, potentially fatal levels of electricity. If you are in an accident with one, your whole vehicle may be charged with electricity. If you step out, you will become the electricity’s path to the ground and could be killed by an electric shock.
The only circumstance when you should exit the vehicle is if it is on fire. If you must exit the vehicle, jump clear of it with your feet together, and continue to “bunny hop” with your feet together so that you will not have different strengths of electric current running from one foot to another.
Car accidents with downed lines are not just dangerous for those involved. Well-meaning bystanders may try to approach the car to help. Warn them to stay away from the accident until utility professionals and emergency responders have confirmed that there are no electrical dangers.
Safe Electricity encourages you to share what you know about electrical safety with friends, family, and new drivers, so—like Lee and Ashley—they will know what to do in a car accident with a power pole. For more information and to watch a video of Lee and Ashley’s story, visit SafeElectricity.org.