Safety & Security

If a fallen power line touches your car, these steps can save your life

Hop or shuffle to safety

You’re driving on a rural road when you lose control of your vehicle and collide with a utility pole. When the smoke clears, you see a downed power line lying across the hood of your car. Do you know how to get to safety?

In 2019 alone, there were 88 vehicle-related power outages in our service territory, including collisions with utility poles that downed power lines. If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, you’re in extreme danger: Your vehicle and the ground around you could be energized and could cause electrocution.

Don’t panic! The situation is serious, but by keeping calm and following the steps below, you and your passengers can stay safe.

Never touch your vehicle and the ground or two different areas of the ground at the same time.

  1. If you don’t have to leave your car, don’t. Instruct bystanders to stay back at least 50 feet. Call (or have the bystanders call) PEC’s emergency number, 888-883-3379, as well as 911.
  2. If the situation changes and you must leave your vehicle, first open your vehicle door, but do not step out.
  3. Stand up on the edge of your vehicle’s doorframe, then cross your arms and jump free of the vehicle without touching it. Keep your feet together, and land on both feet at the same time.
  4. Hop with both feet together or take small shuffle-steps (keeping both feet in contact with the ground at all times) until you are about 50 feet away from the downed line.
    • Do not lift one foot from the ground at a time, take large steps,
    •  or crawl. Keep your hands off the ground at all times.
  5. If you can feel tingling in your legs, hop or shuffle another 50 feet away. Repeat until the tingling sensation stops.

Remember these steps in the event you encounter a downed power line. Visit our safety page to learn more about how to protect yourself and your family.