Recently, a catastrophic accident involving a utility pole made its way into national headlines. In the incident, a driver and his passenger survived a car crash initially. Sadly, when the driver exited the car, a downed power line electrocuted him.

When you drive, you may collide with a utility pole under a few different circumstances. For example, you may exit the roadway and hit a pole directly. Alternatively, another vehicle may collide with yours, sending your car into a utility pole. Regardless, if you experience a crash involving a power line, you must take steps to protect yourself and others.

Understand the risk 

Even though any accident can leave you with certain injuries, those encompassing downed power lines can be deadly. You do not have to step on a live wire to sustain a life-threatening injury, however. On the contrary, standing in an energized area near a downed line can be hazardous. As such, if you have a car crash near a utility pole, you must assume that there is an electrocution risk.

Protect yourself and others 

Typically, the best approach to staying safe around downed wires is to remain inside your vehicle. After calling 911, wait inside your car for instructions from emergency responders. If passersby attempt to approach your vehicle to assist you, shout at them to stand clear.

Exit your vehicle safely 

Collisions with utility poles occasionally cause car fires. If your car bursts into flames, you obviously cannot remain inside it. If you must exit the vehicle, observe the area outside your car to be certain that you do not step on a downed line. Then, jump from your car with both feet, making sure to never touch the ground and your vehicle at the same time. After you are outside your vehicle, shuffle your feet until you are at least 35 feet away from the crash scene.

With some luck, you may never have a collision involving a utility pole. Nonetheless, you must recognize the extreme risk that downed wires pose to your health. By thinking about how to respond to a collision with a utility pole, you can better protect yourself and any passengers in the vehicle with you.