Teenage drivers can’t learn about electrical road hazards from experience. They need to learn about potential dangers before ever getting behind the wheel.
For an inexperienced teenaged driver, wrecking the family car is almost a rite of passage. The only way for young drivers to gain experience is by getting behind the wheel and putting miles behind them.
Some dangers, though, cannot be learned from personal “experience.” Take this example: an accident involving a utility pole. How the driver and passengers handle themselves in those moments after the car comes to a stop may mean the difference between life and death.
“Stay in the car, stay in the car, stay in the car!” is the mantra Indiana’s electric co-ops want young drivers to remember.
“Whenever a power line is involved, even a minor accident can become tragic,” said Tom VanParis, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Staying put for all involved, and warning passersby to stay away, too, cannot be stressed enough. Only after a first responder arrives on scene and says it’s OK, should you get out.”
Staying put may go against a driver’s first inclination; you want to get out and check the car and see if everyone around is OK. Teenagers, especially, might fret that “dad is going to kill me!” But stepping out of the car immediately after striking a utility pole may kill you.
Do’s and don’ts after hitting a utility pole
- DON’T open the car door or reach out the window.
- DO call 9-1-1. Tell them you’ve struck a utility pole and that power lines may have fallen.
- DON’T step outside. If a power line has fallen onto your car and is still energized, the current could travel through you and kill you instantly.
- DO tell passersby to call 9-1-1 and to stay back. They might walk right into a fallen energized line.