Over 100 Car Crashes into Power Poles in Last Five Years

Published: 05-Nov-2019

A recent spate of drivers hitting power poles is prompting calls for road users to drive to the conditions and avoid distractions.

Since 2014 there have been 109 crashes in the District where drivers have hit power poles, resulting in one fatality and 15 seriously  injured.

Downed power poleRangiora Police Sergeant, Rene Pabst says in just the last couple of weeks there have been four crashes that drivers have been extremely lucky to walk away from. He cites speed and distraction as the main causes.

“Concentrating on the task of driving and paying attention to your speed is something we all need to do better at. Almost 80 percent of crashes into power poles happen on the open road, so while a road may have a speed limit of 100km/h, it doesn’t mean that is the speed you have to drive to. It’s not a target.”

While the consequences of the crash itself can be devastating, there is also a high risk for power lines to come down.

Downed power lines pose a life-threatening danger both to the occupants of the vehicle and anyone who stops to help. Prolonged power outages and a risk of fire are also possible outcomes.

MainPower advises those involved in a crash with a power pole and downed lines to stay in your vehicle and call 111.  Anyone else should stay at least 8 meters away from the power lines until emergency services arrive.

What to do if power lines are down:

  • Always assume power lines are live
  • Call 111 immediately
  • Stay at least 8 meters away from power lines or other network equipment
  • Warn others of the danger – keep pedestrians or other motorists clear of fallen power lines
  • If you’re in a vehicle that has hit a power pole and brought down power lines, the safest thing you can do is stay in your vehicle
  • If it’s safe to do so, drive your vehicle a safe distance (at least 8 meters) from the power lines
  • If you can’t drive your vehicle but need to exit in a hurry (for example, if there’s a fire), evacuate the vehicle onto an insulated platform (for example several rubber car mats stacked together). Jump onto the platform, making sure that you are never touching the vehicle and ground at the same time.

The Waimakariri District Council owns and maintains local roads, and works in conjunction with New Zealand Transport Agency, New Zealand Police, MainPower and other local businesses to promote road safety in the District.