|Winter increases the potential for power line accidents.||| Print ||
Stay Away From Power Poles While Driving this Winter
Winter wonderlands can be a driving nightmare. Snow, slush, ice, and wind make it stressful and difficult to drive. These driving conditions also make it more likely that your car will skid off the road. Losing control of your car may seem like the worst-case-scenario, but if you do not know what you are doing, the moments following an accident may be more dangerous than the accident itself.
Cars that slide off the road may slide straight into a power pole. The pole may fall down, lines may stray, and the area around your car may become charged with electric energy. In this scenario, if you stepped out of the car your body would become energized with the electricity in the area, you would receive a severe electric shock that could stop your heart or cause severe burns.
Stay in the car if you are in a car accident with a power pole. Warn those who come near your car to help that they also must stay far away. Wait until a professional from the electric utilitiy tells you it is safe to leave the car.
Several years ago, a group of Indiana teenagers were in an accident with a power pole. Earlier that week they had seen a presentation at school about car accidents with power poles. They knew to stay in the car, and that is what they did, until utility professionals told them they were safe. You can see their full story on Safe Electricity’s website.
The exception to this rule is if your car is on fire. In that case, jump clear of the car with both feet together, and continue hopping like this. With your feet together, the voltage between the two will be the same so electricity will not flow through your body.
If you witness a car collision with a power pole, do not approach the accident. By trying to help, you will put your own life at risk. The best thing to do is contact emergency responders and stay far away from the accident.
Power lines may be difficult to see if they are covered in snow or ice, so be cautious if you are driving after a winter storm.