In Case of an Electrical Emergency Electrical Safety-SMART! Home


A person is sitting inside a car. There are downed power lines laying across the roof.

If a Power Line Touches Your Car

If you are in a car when a power line falls on it, STAY IN THE CAR.

  • Warn other people to stay away. Ask them to call 911 and the local electric utility for help.
  • Stay there until rescue workers arrive. You are safer inside the car because the rubber tires help prevent electricity from going to the ground.
  • If you must leave the car because of fire or other danger, DO NOT STEP OUT of the car. If you touch the car and the ground at the same time, you will be shocked. Instead, JUMP away from the car so no part of you touches the car and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together, and shuffle away keeping both feet on the ground.
  • Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground. If you do, you will become a path for electricity and could be hurt or killed!

Once you jump from a car with a power line on it, the danger may not be over. Electricity can spread out through the ground in a circle from any downed line. The voltage drops as you move away from the point of contact. If one part of your body touches a high-voltage zone while another part of your body touches a low-voltage zone, you will become a conductor for electricity. This is why you should shuffle away from the line, keeping your feet close together.


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