Not all car accidents involve multiple drivers. Single-vehicle accidents can be just as deadly while only involving one driver. Crashing into a power pole is an example of a serious single-vehicle accident that can happen when a driver runs off the road. If you get into a single-vehicle collision with a power pole, remain calm and take many of the same steps you would in a typical two-car accident, plus extra caution for a possible live wire.
Stay Inside the Car
Although your instincts may tell you to exit the vehicle after you crash your car, if you crashed into a power pole, this can be counterintuitive. The safest place you can be is inside your vehicle. If the power pole came down on top of your car or the power lines snapped, the air around your car could contain dangerous electric energy. Exiting your vehicle in this dangerous environment could lead to electrocution and death. Stay in your vehicle to avoid turning your body into a path electricity can ground through.
Downed power lines do not always exhibit signs of active electric energy. The line may look safe, with no sparks or electric arcs shooting from its end. However, the line could still be live and just as deadly. Remain in your vehicle after any car accident with a power pole, in case it is unsafe to exit. It is better to wait in your car until help arrives than to risk stepping into a live electrical field.
The only time you should leave your car after crashing into a power pole is in the rare event of a fire. In this case, jump from your vehicle so that you never touch the car and ground at the same time. Hop away from the burning car while holding both feet together, as this can minimize the voltage difference between your two feet. This is a trick that can prevent electricity from a downed line from flowing through your body. Unless your vehicle is on fire, stay seated and call for help.
Call the police and explain that you crashed into a power pole and need help safely getting out of the vehicle. If you have any personal injuries from the collision, request paramedics as well. The emergency responder will send utility workers to the scene to help you get out of your car without getting electrocuted. Trust emergency responders to know how to cut the power to the line, confirm that it is safe to exit or otherwise assist you in safely exiting your vehicle. Stay at the scene to speak to the responding police officer and obtain an official crash report number. If someone’s negligence caused your injuries, contact a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer for assistance.
Tell Witnesses to Keep Their Distance
Eyewitnesses rushing to the aid of a victim involved in a single-vehicle crash with a power pole can also suffer deadly injuries. From inside your car, do your best to signal to witnesses to stay away. Explain from your car that the downed power line may be live and dangerous if you can. Warning good Samaritans to stay away until officials arrive could help them avoid a serious or fatal injury as well.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Once you are safely away from the vehicle and have received medical care for your injuries, consider who may be liable for the car accident. If you know your own negligence caused you to run off the road and into a power pole, seek coverage from your own insurance provider. If, however, you suspect a cause such as a dangerous roadway, vehicle defect or a no-contact crash (in which another driver drove you off the road without touching your vehicle), speak to a lawyer to see what your legal options are.