Chapter 3: ELECTRICAL SAFETY question

Thread Starter


Joined Dec 31, 1969
Shock current path page

Hi I had a question about one of the grounded circuits (The circuit with the 2 people separated by the resistor and the tree touching the top wire) Shock current path page
-top person is safe and bottom person gets shocked

My question is why doesn’t the current flow threw the two people and shock both of them instead of flowing threw the tree and the person at the bottom. There is a voltage difference between both people due to the resistor. How is this different then the voltage difference between the person on the bottom wire and the tree due to the power source?

Any feedback will be much appreciated thanks.


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Draw the current paths, it will make more sense. The tree is also a resistor.

I assume you are talking about this picture.

By the way, there is a requirement to register if you want to ask questions and get involved. Nothing private is given away, and it is free.


Joined Nov 25, 2008
I really dislike these pictographs of circuit diagrams for explaining electrical properties. As we saw in a prior posting using them, it leads to so many different impressions and explanations and certainly doesn't seem to help some beginners but rather confuses them. A picture may be worth a thousand words but sometimes a few simple words are better then a bad picture.

If you don't understand it then don't go touching no stinking wires :cool:



Joined Mar 24, 2008
We could always show a TV antenna touching some wires, that kills more than its far share of people.

I think the tree being a conductor is what is throwing people off.


Joined May 16, 2005
Looking at the picture for the umpteenth time, I find myself wondering why no current goes through the top person to ground and then through the bottom person... The two people form a series circuit in parallel with the load... One of them is also in parallel with the tree.


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Because the tree is grounded, and is ground. If it were a wire it would be obvious.


Joined Nov 17, 2003
Bill, is right with this one, the tree is what throws people. The paragraph after the above picture explains why:

With a tree branch contacting the top wire, that wire becomes the grounded conductor in the circuit, electrically common with earth ground. Therefore, there is no voltage between that wire and ground, but full (high) voltage between the bottom wire and ground.