While power lines typically stay where they should be, they occasionally fall. If a person touches a downed wire, there may be tragic consequences. This was the case with a recent car accident in Texas. Despite surviving an initial car crash, a young man electrocuted himself when exiting his vehicle.
A local transmission power line typically carries nearly 14,000 volts of electricity. This is considerably more than the 110 volts that are often sufficient to electrocute a person. As such, if you are in a car accident that results in downed power lines, you must act quickly to protect yourself, your passengers and others.
Stay inside your vehicle
Arguably, the most recommended thing you can do to avoid serious injury after colliding with a utility pole is to stay inside your vehicle. There may be a live wire blocking your path to safety. Furthermore, downed lines can electrify the ground, making stepping anywhere dangerous. As such, waiting for emergency crews to arrive is usually your most favorable bet.
Weigh the danger
Touching a live wire can turn an already bad situation into a deadly one. Still, you may need to weigh the danger of staying in your car versus exiting it. If your vehicle is on fire, for example, you simply cannot stay put.
Plan your exit
If you decide to leave your vehicle, you must be careful not to form a connection between your body and the electrical current. Therefore, you must plan your exit precisely. Taking the following steps increases your chances of avoiding further injury:
- Widely open your car’s door from the inside, touching only the door handle.
- Place your feet together on your car’s door frame, making sure not to touch anything else.
- Jump outside your vehicle, landing with both feet at the same time.
- Hop to a distance of 40 feet, keeping both of your feet together.
Some car accidents are inevitable. Nonetheless, with some luck and a bit of defensive driving, you may never have to worry about colliding with a utility pole. On the other hand, knowing how to respond if you do may save your life.