# How exactly does voltage work?

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My science teacher once told me something along the lines of if you are not connected to the ground you can safely touch electrical wires because the voltage throughout is the same.

I've seen videos on how large electrical wires are maintained somewhere near some mountains, the maintenance guy uses a special rod that connects the rod to the wire with electricity and after a few seconds it is safe for him to climb on to the wires without being shocked.

I've also seen an experiment on youtube where a bunch of people grab an electric fence and stand on insulators such as wooden tables and plastic containers and buckets.

What exactly is required to shock a person? Does the electricity not pass through the person if he's insulated? Also what does the person need to be insulated from? Would digging out a chunk of grass and dirt and coating the bottom in rubber and standing on the top of the grass result with you still being insulated?

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Electricity will take the path of least resistance; when the maintenance guy wires the rod to the electrical cable, the electricity wil go through the rod rather than through him because the rod conducts electricity much better. These might be helpful:

http://gizmodo.com/5262971/giz-explains-how-electrocution-really-kills-you

https://www.nde-ed.org/EducationResources/CommunityCollege/EddyCurrents/Physics/propertiesofelectricity.htm

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Thank you, that explains a lot.

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Electromagnetism is a gauge field.

In simple terms that means HOW you measure it is more important than the actual measurement.

What is important is not the absolute or actual potential ( voltage ), but the difference in potential.

It is this difference which moves charges.

A bird sitting on a 1500 V line is also at 1500 V. No charges move. It doesn't get fried.

If you are standing on the ground and touch that same line, 1500 V of potential will move a lot of charges. You will be fried to a crisp.

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