In the event of a car accident involving downed power lines, one thing you should take caution never to do is touch any surrounding wires. Unfortunately, a woman in Detroit reportedly died Monday morning after driving into a utility pole, then somehow coming into contact with a live cable.
A video from Detroit news affiliate WDIV Local 4 shows the scene of the accident, near the intersection of Southfield Freeway and Tireman Avenue. An eyewitness reportedly saw the woman touch the wire and then start shaking, though how she touched it — whether by purposefully attempting to remove it or by nudging or stepping on it — isn’t fully clear. The article reports that she “grabbed” the line, though this isn’t attributed to authorities.
It’s difficult to tell from the perspective of the footage, but it appears the downed line may have been resting on the hood of her Chrysler 200. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Detroit police. That’s all the information we have at the moment; if there are any developments, we’ll update this story.
If there are downed power lines near your vehicle and there’s no fire or any imminent danger that requires you to leave, the best advice is to stay inside your car and call for help, according to Pacific Gas & Electric. Assume all wires are power lines, and warn any bystanders from approaching your car with your horn or, if possible, by lowering your window. Never try to leave the car if you don’t have to, as the ground surrounding it may be electrified, and remain in your vehicle until first responders arrive and deem it safe to exit.
Conversely, if you are in an emergency and do need to leave your car as quickly as possible, start by opening the door while taking care not to touch any bare metal. Try to hop out in a manner where your body and clothing clears the vehicle, and plan to land on both feet simultaneously. Then, shuffle away from the scene without picking up your feet.