BC Hydro wants drivers to stay safe around downed power lines

VANCOUVER: B.C. roads are busy during the spring and summer months, and car accidents are not uncommon. Over the past five years, public fatalities and injuries involving cars and power poles have doubled. BC Hydro wants to remind drivers how to stay safe in the event of an accident involving a power pole.

A recent survey* commissioned by BC Hydro revealed almost half (47 per cent) of British Columbians do not know what to do if a power line falls on their vehicle. Power lines carry potentially fatal levels of electricity. To stay safe, always assume that any vehicle that comes into contact with a power pole that results in a downed line is energized – even if it is not sparking, smoking or making a buzzing sound.

BC Hydro encourages drivers involved in accidents with power poles to stay in the car and call 911. A BC Hydro crew will isolate and ground the damaged equipment to make it safe.

If staying in the car is not an option, follow these tips:

  • Remove any loose fitting clothing before exiting the vehicle and do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
  • Jump out and away from the vehicle, taking care to land with feet together.
  • Do the shuffle –when exiting the vehicle, shuffle with feet together. Don't walk, step or pick feet up off the ground.
  • Shuffle at least 10 metres away – the length of a bus.

Occupants of vehicles that come into contact with power lines are not the only ones that risk serious injury or death. The same survey also found over one fifth (23 per cent) of British Columbians did not know how far back they should stay from the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a downed line. If a vehicle makes contact with a power pole, stay back at least 10 metres (about a bus length) and call 911.

For more information on electrical safety, visit or watch our informational video.