To escape from a car accident with power lines, you must know how to exit your vehicle when there is a downed wire on your vehicle and fire or smoke makes it unsafe for you to remain inside. You must also know how to shuffle or bunny hop to safety when there is a downed electrical cable on the ground.
As an auto accident attorney, there are plenty of situations where the real harm comes after the crash. I have come across situations where a driver is hit by another vehicle, loses control and collides into a utility pole. Or the crash propels the vehicle into a nearby utility pole. I have also seen instances of automobile crashes where a downed wire falls onto a person’s vehicle and they are trapped inside.
The vast majority of people do not understand how extremely dangerous those situations can be (why would they?). Nor do they know how to successfully escape to safety after a car accident with power lines.
Below, I want to share some ideas from electrocution lawyer Jeffrey Feldman on what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe if you find yourself involved in an automobile crash with high-voltage electrical lines. Jeff Feldman is perhaps the most experienced lawyer in the country today, representing shock injury and electrocution victims throughout the United States. In the content below, Jeff provides valuable advice that can quite literally save your life if you are involved in an automobile crash with high-voltage electrical lines.
After a car accident with power lines, treat utility wires as live and electrified
The #1 most important thing you must do to stay safe after a car accident with power lines is treat any downed electrical wire that you encounter – whether it is on your vehicle or in the road or on the sidewalk – as if it is fully energized and electrified and, thus, potentially deadly. Why? Because it very likely is.
There three things to remember about utility cables that have been knocked down in a crash:
- They can be electrified and dangerous even if they are not arcing, sparking, humming, buzzing or jumping.
- Do not under any circumstances approach or touch a fallen power cable because you could get electrocuted.
- Do not touch any object that is in contact with the electric utility cable because the electrical current could travel through the object and into your body, causing you to suffer electrocution or electric shock.
What are the dangers of a car accident with power lines?
The two main dangers that you need to be concerned about in a car accident with power lines are: (1) that the high-voltage wires will fall on your vehicle; and/or (2) that the electrified cables will land on the ground near and around your vehicle.
Although many people believe they are safe if they just refrain from touching or making contact with a downed electrical wire, that is actually not true. The utility line’s electrical current spreads out in rings and can shock or electrocute people who are as far as 35 feet from the downed line. You are in serious danger even when you are not touching a downed electrical wire.
To learn more, check out this video of WZZM TV-13’s interview of Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon M. Hewitt and electrocution accident attorney Jeffrey H. Feldman:
Should you remain in your vehicle after an automobile crash with high-voltage electrical wires?
You should remain in your vehicle after a car accident with power lines unless you are in imminent danger (such as from fire or smoke) or unless first-responders notify you that it is safe to exit your vehicle. Call 9-1-1 and the utility company to alert them to the dangerous situation you are in.
How do you escape your vehicle if high-voltage electrical lines have landed on your vehicle?
When fire or smoke make it necessary to escape your vehicle because of a downed power line on your car, you must: (1) open your door, but do not step out; (2) stand on the threshold with your feet together; (3) jump clear of vehicle; (4) do not touch your vehicle while jumping and/or once you feet hit the ground; and (5) shuffle or bunny hop to safety.
Shuffle or bunny hop to safety
Once you have jumped clear of your vehicle, you should shuffle or bunny hop to safety. To shuffle, keep your feet together on the ground (never lifting up) and sliding each forward one at a time. To bunny hop, keep both feet together and hop like a bunny.
It is important with both escape techniques to: (1) keep your feet together; (2) do not crawl; and (3) do not touch the ground with your hands; (4) continue shuffling or bunny-hopping until you are 30 to 35 feet away from your vehicle; (5) do not touch your vehicle; and (6) do not touch anyone who remains in your vehicle because you will become a path or conductor of the electricity that the downed line has transferred into the vehicle and which is trying to find a path to ground.
What causes a car accident with power lines?
Although there is no database with comprehensive statistics about these types of automobile crashes, the following are well known causes: (1) vehicles hitting poles; (2) deteriorated poles; (3) substandard vegetation management practices; and (4) aging power delivery infrastructure.
Negligently installed, inspected and maintained equipment also make it more likely that downed power lines may result from – and add to the dangerousness of – a crash.
Were you injured in a car accident with power lines? Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident with power lines and you have questions about your your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You can also get help by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.