Crashes involving power poles are not common, but they can be extremely dangerous. In mid-May, the Idaho State Police were called to the scene of a vehicle crash in which a truck pulling a trailer struck a power pole. The impact knocked the pole across the eastbound and westbound lanes on U.S. 30, just west of Montpellier. The road was blocked for several hours in both directions while Rocky Mountain Power assessed the damage. Montpelier High School even had to be evacuated as a safety precaution. Luckily there were no injuries reported.
Stay in Your Car if You Can
If you are involved in a vehicle accident involving a downed power line, it’s generally best to stay in your car and call 911. You do not want to attempt to exit the vehicle because the electricity can travel through the ground to you and cause death or serious injury. Any fallen lines may well still be energized. The safest course of action is to wait until help arrives and first responders tell you it is safe to exit your vehicle.
Hop (Yes Hop) to Safety
Although staying inside the vehicle is usually best, you may have no choice but to exit if there is a fire or a medical emergency. If this is the case, open the vehicle door all the way while you are still seated in your vehicle. Look up and around to ensure you can exit the car without contacting the fallen line. If so, stand on the frame of the vehicle with your arms crossed over your chest. Slide your feet together, then jump out of the vehicle with your arms touching your body. Hop away as quickly as you can, remembering to keep your feet together. Do not slide your feet apart until you are at least thirty feet from the scene of the accident. If you feel tingling when you start to slide your feet apart, pull them back together and hop further away until you no longer feel a tingling sensation.
If you are traveling in your vehicle and come across an accident that has already taken place, stop at least thirty feet away from the scene of the accident. Call 911 immediately. Do not try to provide assistance on your own. You must assume that fallen lines and vehicles involved in the accident are energized.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash involving a downed power line or pole and a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury attorney can assist you in obtaining reimbursement for your medical costs, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses. The attorneys at Holzer Edwards are dedicated to representing Idaho residents who have been injured due to the negligence of others.