Motorists in Northland are being urged to drive with more caution following a spate of accidents involving vehicles hitting Top Energy and Northpower's 'electricity assets.'

As of last week the two lines companies had reported 51 incidents since December 2018, all but one of them being vehicles crashing into power poles.

On December 12 a car demolished a Top Energy pole, sparking a 130ha scrub fire on the Karikari Peninsula and cutting power to 1000 consumers.

Northland Road Safety's Ian Crayton-Brown called on drivers to slow down, take more time to get to their destination, and be more observant of potential roadside hazards.


"This time of year is particularly challenging, and a higher-risk time, with more people on the roads travelling to holiday destinations. We don't want to see fatal and serious injury crashes on Northland's roads," he said.

"Getting to your destination safely or not can be greatly influenced by not being impaired, driving distracted or fatigued, wearing your seat belt and your children all restrained correctly. Your speed, reaction time and condition of your tyres also have a huge influence on stopping distance and crash outcome. Road safety is everyone's responsibility."

Northpower and Top Energy were backing that message.

"We ask people to reduce their speed and take extra caution this holiday season," Northpower network general manager Josie Boyd said.

"If you are in a vehicle that takes down a power pole or powerlines, and the lines end up on or around the vehicle, or if you can't safely drive clear of the lines, phone 111 immediately and stay in the vehicle until you are told it is safe to get out.

"If you come across an accident scene involving downed powerlines, stay at least 10 metres clear and phone 111 immediately."

Top Energy's network operations manager Tony Smallman says if people had to get out of a vehicle due to fire, they must not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time when jumping clear.

"Stand on the door frame and cross your hands over your chest. Jump away from the car as far as you can with your feet together. As the ground may be energised, you need to shuffle with your feet together and touching, ensuring the heel of one foot is touching the toe of the other," he said.


"Do not lift either foot off the ground, and shuffle at least 10 metres away from the power line."

Mr Smallman encouraged everyone to familiarise themselves with Top Energy's safety video (, which explains what to do in an accident involving powerlines.

In the event of damage to electricity assets, phone Top Energy Faults on 0800 867-363 or Northpower Faults on 0800 104-040.