Power line vehicle safety tips

What to do if power lines fall on your car

If a power line falls on your car, school bus or farm equipment, here are a few things you can do to stay safe:

  1. Stay inside the vehicle. Only leave a vehicle that is in contact with a downed power line if the vehicle catches on fire. Read below to learn how to exit your vehicle safely.

  2. Warn people not to touch the vehicle or the downed power line. 

  3. Call or ask someone to call 9-1-1, who can contact your local electrical cooperative or utility company.

  4. If you are standing on the ground, do not attempt to help someone else out of the car. 

How to exit your vehicle safely

In some instances, whether because of a fire or some other life-threatening issue, you may be required to exit your car after it’s come into contact with power lines. By following the below instructions, you can give yourself the best chance to avoid serious injury.

  1. Open the door but do not step out of the vehicle.

  2. Jump away with both feet together so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground, landing with both feet together.

  3. Once you clear the vehicle, "bunny hop" or shuffle with both feet on the ground, at least 50 feet away, further if you can.

Can you drive over a downed power line?

You should never drive a vehicle over a downed power line. Drivers should always treat a power line lying in the street as if it is electrified and stay away.

The dangers of driving over a downed power line, however, go beyond the obvious problem of coming in contact with an energized line. Driving across a downed power line could also create additional tension on the lines and cause power poles to fall as well, potentially hitting your car.

Although the likelihood of a power line falling on your car is remote, it is still a possibility. Make sure to remember these safety tips just in case you happen to be in this dangerous situation!

Interested in learning more about power line safety? Listen to our podcast on vehicle crash safety to learn more.  

Power For Your Life · Vehicle crash safety