Do you Know what to do if your Vehicle Hits a Power Line?
Do you Know what to do if your Vehicle Hits a Power Line?

This past March, a woman ran over a downed power line after it was knocked down in a crash in Monterey Park. Fortunately, firefighters were already at the scene for the accident, and they warned the driver to stay in her vehicle. The driver, Dorothy Hong, complied, and she remained in her vehicle for nearly two hours.

While Hong waited in her vehicle, crews worked to determine if the wires were live. Finally, after about two hours, power crews verified the power was off, and Hong was able to safely drive away. The driver who struck the power pole and caused the downed power lines was later arrested for driving under the influence.

More Crashes Cause Downed Power Lines

The story might seem like an anomaly, but it is a more common problem than you might think. During the same month as Hong’s accident, a utility truck crashed into a power line in Santa Fe Springs, causing a huge fire and sending live wires onto the ground. The driver was ordered to stay in his vehicle until the threat of electrocution was eliminated. He was later escorted from his truck by a firefighter. Then in April, another drunk driver crashed into a power pole in Santa Ana. She was pulled from the vehicle by a good Samaritan.

Step 1: Stay in Your Vehicle

If you are ever in an accident where your vehicle hits a power pole or runs over a downed power line, the safest thing to do is stay in your vehicle. According to Andrew Martinez, vice president of Safety, Security & Business Resiliency for Southern California Edison, your vehicle’s tires can insulate the vehicle, preventing you from being electrocuted. Unless there is a fire or other serious emergency, do not exit your vehicle until firefighters, police officers or power crew workers verify that it is safe to do so.

Step 2: Call for Help

Call 911 right away and explain your situation. The operator should advise you to remain in your vehicle. If you do not have access to your cell phone, crack a window and shout for help. Be sure to ask bystanders to call 911, but remind them not to approach your vehicle.

Step 3: Warn Others

If there are other vehicles nearby, their occupants are also at risk of electrocution if they exit too early. Warn others by cracking your window and yelling, or honking your horn.

If there is an immediate emergency and you absolutely have to exit your vehicle, do not step out. Jump out and land with both feet together. Avoid having contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle—don’t walk—with your feet close together, away from the vehicle. Make sure you are at least 50 feet away from the vehicle before you resume normal walking.

“Downed power lines can cause severe injuries and even death. If you ever find yourself in this situation, be patient and wait until officials say it is okay to exit the vehicle,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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