Information Saves Lives

How to escape a sinking car

Ideally, you want to do all of these things ASAP before the water rises up to your windows. The higher the water gets, the harder it will be to escape due to the amount of water coming into the vehicle.



Step 1: Keep Your Cool

 Surviving a vehicle submersion often hinges on staying composed and acting swiftly. Time is of the essence, especially since you may only have a minute before your vehicle sinks entirely. Remaining calm is paramount. Clear thinking and swift action are your allies. If panic sets in upon impact with the water, precious moments could slip away, jeopardizing your escape.

(A solid grasp of these steps is key. When you’re focused on executing them, panic won’t have room to take hold.)

Step 2: Unleash Your Seatbelt

The last thing you need in an emergency is to feel trapped. Unbuckle your seatbelt immediately to grant yourself freedom of movement.

Step 3: Window of Opportunity

As soon as your seatbelt is off, roll down the window you’ll use for your exit. Most vehicles tilt nose-down upon submersion, making rear windows a prime escape route. Act fast to lower the window before the waterline matches its height. While automatic windows can function underwater initially, prolonged pressure may impede their operation. Swiftly opening your exit window is crucial.

If, for any reason, the window won’t budge, wait until the car fills completely. Once filled, pressure equalization allows the door to open. Before exiting, seek air at the car’s apex. Remember, this method is a last resort. Exiting through a window is your safest bet.

Step 4: Aid Fellow Travelers

With your seatbelt off and your escape window open, assist other passengers in freeing themselves and exiting the vehicle.  Start with those who require the least assistance, ensuring you have both hands free to aid those needing more help. Never exit before ensuring children are safely out. Once submerged, reentry becomes incredibly difficult.

Step 5: Escape and Evade

Having cleared the hurdles, it’s time to make your exit. Climb through the window, push off from the car, and swim to the surface and safety. For those with young ones, prioritize their exit, assisting them to safety before focusing on your own.

Remember these acronyms to aid recall: 

Pop the seat belt… Open the window… Get Out.

Seatbelts off… Window open… Out of the car… Children out first.

Commit these steps to memory with the hope you’ll never have to use them. But if the need arises, be ready to act swiftly, calmly, and effectively.

Stay safe out there.

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