Car accidents are traumatic experiences under normal circumstances. Accidents near rivers, lakes and other bodies of water can become deadly if one or more vehicles go into the water.
While these accidents are not common, knowing what to do if you become trapped in a sinking vehicle could save your life.
Panic, while understandable, uses up energy, oxygen and time that you can not afford to waste. It also decreases the length of time you can hold your breath. Stay calm and conserve your energy.
Focus on getting out
Do not spend your time calling for help. Most vehicles will float for about 30-120 seconds. This brief window is your best chance to escape.
Prepare to swim
Unbuckle your seatbelt. Remove any clothing or other items, such as a heavy jacket, that could make it difficult for you to swim.
Do not open your car door
You probably will not be able to open your car door because of the water pressure. Attempting to do so is usually a waste of time. If you do get the door open, it will allow water to enter your vehicle faster, which will cause it to sink faster.
Break or roll down your window
If you have electronically controlled windows, they may not work. Break the window with a sharp or hard object. Once you have broken the window, exit the vehicle, push yourself away from the car and swim to the surface.
Acting fast and staying calm is the key to escaping a sinking car. Preparing yourself before an accident happens will help you do both things.