How to Survive a Water Crash
Did you know that about 20% of Florida is covered with water? Florida drivers constantly encounter canals, lakes, bays, swamps, sink holes, and other bodies of water that make the state unique as well as hazardous for motorists.
What would you do if your car plunged into a roadside canal? The National Safety Commission (NSC) wants to make sure you’re ready for a water crash.
As an experienced accident attorney, I encourage safety preparedness, in case you find yourself off the road and up the creek.
Scenario One: The Titanic
Your car is slowly sinking. Water is seeping in. You might even have up to 3 or 4 minutes before it’s completely under water.
- Stay calm and act quickly.
- While you’re still above water, unbuckle your seat belt and roll down the window.
- If you have electric windows, like most modern cars, they fail when wet. Alternatively, locate an escape hammer or spring loaded center punch (available at hardware stores) and punch out side windows.
- If necessary, relocate to the backseat to take advantage of trapped air while planning.
- Rescue additional persons, if you are able and have training.
Scenario Two: The Submarine
Your car is sinking quickly, water is gushing in, and you’re almost completely submerged. You are under water.
- Stay calm and act very quickly.
- Keep your seat belt buckled until the water pressure inside and outside the car are equalized-when the water completely fills the vehicle. If you take your seat belt off too soon, you may get trapped under the dashboard by inward rushing water.
- Unlock manual locks, and open the door.
- If you have electric locks, and your doors are locked closed, break the passenger or driver’s side windows with an escape hammer or spring loaded center punch (available at hardware stores). Remember the front and rear windows are made of tempered glass. You may be able to kick out the rear windshield, if necessary.
- Swim to the surface. If you have rescue training and are able, attempt to rescue additional trapped persons.
In addition to having a plan, secure an escape hammer or spring loaded center punch, available at hardware stores, to your dash or driver’s side door, in the event you need to punch out the side windows.
According to 2007 Florida crash statistics, approximately 59 fatalities and 792 injuries resulted from a motor vehicle running off the road into water. Families of victims may want to consult an accident attorney, if a serious or fatal accident occurs to see whether another party was reckless or negligent.
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