If you find yourself in a sinking car, what is the first thing you should do to maximize your chances of survival? As strange the question sounds, knowing the answer beforehand may help you save your and your loved ones’ lives if you are ever faced with the unfortunate situation.
If you are in a sinking car, first thing you will need to do is recognize the need to escape. Rather than waiting to assess the rate of sinking and evaluating whether you should remain buckled-in until outside help arrives, you will need to realize the urgency to escape and follow through it right away. Help from outside may take a few minutes to arrive, if at all, but your air supply will likely last for a few seconds only.
To make a swift escape, you’ll need to unfasten seatbelt(s) and lower your window as soon as your car enters the water. But why not just open the doors and get out normally? The pressure from the water around the partially submerged car would make opening the door difficult to impossible. Also not opening the door would slow down the sinking by reducing inflow of water, even if marginally. Don’t hesitate to break the window if you are having difficulties lowering it. In most cars you should be able to pull out a car seat’s headrest and use its studs to break the glass. Aim for the edges and corners as that’s where windows are the weakest. Proceed to exit from the window.
If you are unable to exit through the window, your last resort would be to wait for the car’s interior to fill with water then open the door. Trying to break the windshield is not advisable as windshields are made to be much sturdier than windows. Once the car is filled with water, procced to open the door and escape. You may need to use force as the handle may not be working normally and the pressure inside the car might still be lower than the surroundings.
After escaping a submerged car, you may become confused about out the direction of the surface. If that happens to be the case, do not panic and simply swim in the direction of the rising air bubbles to get to the surface.
Although we hope you never have a need to put this information to use, we hope this article gives you the confidence you need to respond effectively if you do.