VIDEO: Safety Near Downed Power Lines

A 26-year-old woman from New Jersey was electrocuted July 18 when she tried to exit her car after power lines fell on it during a storm. The headline provided a melancholy reminder of just how dangerous downed power lines are.

According to a report from, Susan C. Potok of Plainfield, N.J., had pulled her car over to the side of the road during a summer storm and turned on the hazard lights. But those safety measures weren’t enough when power lines fell down on her car and she tried to leave the vehicle.

Pacific Gas & Electric offers the following tips to help motorists stay safe when a fallen power line comes in contact with a vehicle:

  • Stay inside your vehicle. The ground around your vehicle may be energized.
  • Sound the horn, roll down your window, and call for help.
  • Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your vehicle can be injured.
  • Use your mobile phone to call 911.
  • Wait until the fire department, police, or utility workers tell you it’s safe before exiting the vehicle.

If your vehicle is in contact with a fallen power line and a fire starts, follow these guidelines when exiting your vehicle:

  • Remove loose items of clothing.
  • Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you’re not touching the vehicle when your feet hit the ground.
  • Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.

To view a video about the subject, click on the photo or link below the headline.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet