What to do if your car crashes into a power line [Video + Safety Instructions]

An automobile crash involving power lines can result in severe injury or death. Watch the video to understand how it differs from an ordinary motor vehicle accident.



A power or hydro line crash can be encountered by anyone at any time and any negligence in handling the situation can prove fatal for an individual.

How to identify a power line

A power or hydro line generally runs overhead on the terrain supported by iron or wooden poles. These are in the form of cables which are at least one centimeter or more in diameter. These lines are generally made of copper metal and appear to be silver in color.

These power or hydro lines should not be confused with other lines or cables such as telephone or television cables. A major differentiating point between the two is the while the power or hydro lines will appear to be silverish in color and will not have any insulation over them whereas the other common type of cables found overhead will be duly insulated and will bear a polyvinyl plastic coating (PVC) over them. A simple way to distinguish between them is that the non-power cables will have rubber or plastic coating over them unlike the power or hydro cables which are normally in the metal form.

The following situations can lead to an encounter with the hydro or power lines crash:

  • Driving accident
  • Wear & Tear of metal
  • Line snap due to a natural disaster like windstorm or hail storm
  • Intentional malpractice – A deliberate attempt to sabotage normal routine

Safety tips during power line crash

Tips to ensure safety in case of an encounter with power or hydro line crash:

  • Do not panic but at the same time; please be cautious.
  • Stay calm and do not overreact to any situation.
  • Try to observe and act on the points mentioned above to ensure individual and joint safety.
  • Instruct all helping individuals to maintain a safe ground distance of at least 35 feet’s from the point of impact.
  • Call for help at 911.
  • Try to maintain the posture till the time help arrives.

In case of any further complication in the situation, ensure to follow the following instruction:

  1. Please make sure that you do not perform any act which turns the body into an electrical conductor which will make electricity pass through your body and will prove to be fatal.
  2. In these cases, please ensure that the body should not become an element of connection between the snapped line, and the earth; which means that nobody part should directly or indirectly touch the snapped line and the ground.
  3. Try to jump out of the vehicle keeping both the feet together as more distance between the feet will make them two separate conductors and the charge will start flowing through the body which will prove fatal.
  4. Ensure to take extremely small steps keeping both the feet together to avoid the situation mentioned above and get to a safe distance which is 35 feet and more from the impacted point.
  5. Stay calm and wait for the medical assistance.

Video credits: Puget Sound Energy

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