How to Escape a Submerged Vehicle with Your Life

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This is an absolute worst case scenario: you plunge into deep water while inside your vehicle, and start to sink. You’ve seen the movies where the hero dives after a sinking car and saves an entire family, dog included, but in reality, there’s probably no one coming to save you. If you find yourself sinking into the blue, it’s time to take fate into your own hands. Here’s how:

Act quickly and prioritize

There’s no time to call the police. There’s no time to grab your belongings. There’s only time for one thing: escape. Your first priority is getting everyone out of the sinking car, and the best way to do that is through the window.

Why not the door you ask? The pressure of the water against the door panel will make it hard to open. The water (if you go in tires-first) will take some time to rise to window level – just not much time. This is why you must act quickly to lower the window(s).

If water reaches the window

If the water reaches the window before you have a chance to lower it, you’re in bigger trouble. The water pressure will hold the window to the door frame and from here your options are limited. Your best chance is to break the window, which is why we recommend always keeping an emergency car tool in your car. These come equipped with a seat belt cutter, and a pointed hammer designed to break windows in a pinch.

Using this tool, shatter the window and get ready to hold your breath. The second that window is broken, water is going to rush in and your car is going to sink faster, but you’ll have a chance. Now you have to fight – fight the rushing water to escape, fight the pressure to hold your breath, and fight for your life.

Your last option is to wait for the water to fill the vehicle, take one last huge breath, open the door, and escape to the surface. Once the water has filled the car the pressure will equalize and you’ll be able to open the door. The only problem is that you might be very far from the surface by this time, and you’ll need to hold your breath better than Adam Savage (Mythbusters) could.

Intense, we know

But it’s the honest truth. This is an intense (hypothetical) situation; one that you can survive if handled correctly. Your best chance is to escape through an open window, so that should always been the first thing you try if this situation ever arises.

Hopefully (and likely) it never will, and you’ll just have this great information to share with others or keep to yourself. Either way, you can go forth with some knowledge of how to escape a sinking car. If you take away just one thing, let it be the sense of urgency to escape.

For more hypothetical car emergencies, follow us on Twitter, or follow the blog!

How to Escape a Submerged Vehicle with Your Life was last modified: January 8th, 2016 by Leith VW Raleigh
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