What should you do if a power line falls on your car?

Safety tips on how to get out safely if a power line falls on your car, even when there’s fire

Given the winter storms ravaging different parts of the country, from California to Michigan, our electrocution lawyers have received calls and e-mails regarding an important safety question:

What should you do if a power line falls on your car — while you’re inside?

It’s a scary scenario.

But these safety tips could help save your life. Here’s what to do if you’re in your car and you suspect a power line has fallen onto your vehicle, according to Redding Fire Department Engineer Allen Gundersen, in a recent article on power line safety during winter storms from krctv.com

Stay inside and call 9-1-1 for help. Do not leave the vehicle until you are instructed by emergency personnel.

Meanwhile, you can honk your horn to alert passers-by. Roll down the window and warn people not to touch the car or the line.

But what if the car is on fire from the downed power line?

Here’s what law enforcement experts recommend if your car is on fire from the downed power line, and you are inside.

  • Open the door, but do not step out of the car.
  • Make sure that you jump completely free of the vehicle with both feet together to avoid contact with the live car (metal) and the ground at the same time.
  • You’re trying to make sure that you never make a connection with your body between the car’s shell and the road at the same time.
  • Babies should be held closely to you while you jump.
  • Remember, once you jump from a car with a power line on it, the danger may not be over. Electricity can spread out through the ground in a circle from any downed line. Hop as far away as possible from the vehicle keeping both feet together.
  • Do not try to help someone else from the car while you’re standing on the ground. If you do, you will become a path for electricity and could be injured or electrocuted.

Here’s a how-to video from Bear Grylls on the Discovery Channel’s worst case scenario video.

And remember these key safety points when it comes to downed lines:

Downed power lines should always be treated as though they’re live with electric currents flowing through them.

Never approach or touch fallen power lines with anything. That includes your hands or any other object, because you can be electrocuted.

Stay clear of any objects, structures, or people that come in contact with the fallen power line, because electrical currents can spread without you knowing.

The law in this area of electrocution and shock injury cases is complex, and often will involve many potential parties that most lawyers would not consider adding to an electrocution lawsuit for damages from a power line falling on a car. If you or someone you love was injured as a result of a power line falling on a car, you can speak to an experienced electrocution attorney to find out what your legal rights are.

Related info:
What does a downed power line really look like?
The real reason utility companies fail to maintain power lines in urban cities like Detroit

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