Step 2: Remain on the Scene

It’s important to remain at the site of a motor vehicle collision. You’re going to need to be able to give an accurate account of what happened, and it can be illegal to leave. Stay where you are, and turn on your hazard lights. If you are injured, don’t move and remain in your vehicle.

Always assume that electrical lines are live. A live electrical cable is extremely dangerous. Many people assume that it’s only dangerous when you can see signs of it being energized, such as sparks, smoke, or a buzzing sound. This is not the case. It could always be energized.

Exactly what you do depends on whether or not you’re inside the vehicle. If you’re inside the vehicle, and it can be driven away, do so. Drive at least 10 metres away from the power line. That’s about the length of one school bus. If you can’t move the vehicle safely, stay inside and wait for help to arrive. People may want to approach the vehicle to help you, tell them to stay back. Never reach outside your window, especially not to move the power line off of your vehicle.

If striking the utility pole has led to a secondary emergency, such as your vehicle being on fire, you may have to leave. Only do so if you absolutely must leave to remain safe. No part of you can touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time, so remove any loose clothing. Open the door, tuck your arms in, keep your feet together, and jump from the vehicle. Don’t jump too far. You need to not stumble after jumping, and you need to land with your feet touching each other.
After that, shuffle with your feet until you are at least 10 metres away from the vehicle. You can’t walk normally by lifting your feet off the ground, and both your feet need to be touching each other at all times. Walking normally can cause a circuit through your body, using the shuffle method avoids this. The inside of your heel should still be touching the toe of the other foot when you start to move the other leg forward. Shuffling in this manner gives you the best chance to avoid being fatally electrocuted.

If you’re outside the vehicle already, keep away, call 911, and tell the people in the vehicle to stay right where they are.

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