It is estimated that approximately 400 people drown annually by being stuck in a sinking car. The worst part is that many of these cases could be avoided if the victim had been better informed on how to survive.
The Two Most Fatal Mistakes
In most cases the victim makes an effort to call 911 whole the car sinks. While hoping that they can be rescued, these people actually make a huge mistake. In fact, many dispatchers simply don’t know how to cope with such situation and the victim eventually drowns while waiting for help.
Another fatal mistake people make is waiting for the car to fill up with water. They do this in order to equalize with the pressure by the water, before opening the door and swimming away. However, this trick turns out to be a failure in most cases, as it takes a lot of time and the victim eventually passes out from oxygen depletion.
Moreover, never close the windows in hope of trapping an air bubble. In fact, this tactic doesn’t work and it also causes panic attack and losing air as the water rises.
The Simple Solution
Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht from the University of Manitoba has come up with a 4-step process which is teaching responders and dispatchers in Florida how to save lives. The entire process takes only 30 seconds and it makes difference between life and death.
- Unbuckle your seat belt
- Open the windows, as possible or break them while the water comes in
- If there are kids with you, grab them and push them out of the window. Start with the oldest child and finish with the youngest. In case you are in an older car where back windows don’t roll down, let the passengers in the front go first to clear your way and escape
- Finally, swim away from the car
Make sure you share this rescue plan with your family members in order to avoid panic in such case and increase the chance of survival.
It is also recommended to get a keychain car escape tool which is designed to break a car window and help you cut the seat belt in case you get stuck.