Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Electric Wires Falling on Cars
Name: Monica
Status: student
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

I am a Defensive driving teacher. How would you talk to people about hot wires falling on their car? Can they touch any thing in their car as long as they are in the car, (like seat belts, will, door, etc.) or will they get shock?

Should not be a big deal in any case, because the frame and body of a car are a "Faraday cage," inside which there is no electric field. if they are inside the car and the car contacts a hot wire, they should try to get the car OFF the wire. Touching anything outside the car would be a very bad idea. That also means do not leave the car until it is no longer hot. This works for metallic cars only.

Richard Barrans
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Wyoming

I was always taught that you can touch anything as long as it is not metal and/or connected to the frame. That being said, I would never do anything that would remotely make my body a possible path for electricity. The safest bet would be to touch nothing and just use the cell phone if it still works and call for help.

Robert Avakian

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory