Vehicles and Utility Poles
All traffic accidents are hazardous, but when an accident involves a utility pole there is an added danger of electrocution from downed power lines touching your vehicle.
Know what to do if this happens to you. If you hit a utility pole:
- Stay inside the vehicle, regardless of whether or not you can see a line down. This is the safest place to stay under the circumstances.
- Honk your horn to alert passers-by.
- Roll down the window and warn people not to touch the car or the line.
- Ask someone to call 911.
- If using a cell phone is your only option, call 911.
Only consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line if the vehicle catches on fire. If that happens:
- Open the door, but do not step out.
- 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, which would create a circuit and cause electrocution.
- Hop as far away as possible away from the vehicle while keeping both feet together.
If you encounter an accident involving a car hitting a utility pole:
- Never approach a vehicle that is touching power lines; instead call 911 immediately.
- Remain a safe distance away, keep the passengers in the vehicle calm and wait for emergency personnel to handle the situation.
Additionally, never drive over downed power lines. Even if not energized, lines can become entangled in your vehicle. Also, never touch a person who is in contact with power lines or other objects that are touching power lines. You cannot help them by being electrocuted yourself.
When traffic accidents involve utility poles, many homes in the nearby area will be without power for a time. If you see an accident involving a utility pole in your area and you are without power, please be patient. Emergency personnel notify IPL right away and steps are immediately taken to restore power once the area around the accident has been secured.