What to do if your car is submerged in water

Tips to increase chance of survival

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor, News4Jax.com Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With the fourth car flipped over the barrier of the Buckman Bridge, questions have been raised about what to do if this were to happen to you.

There are some things to do to increase your chance of survival.

News4JAX combined the best information from multiple experiments that have been done on cars that were sinking.

Experts say rolling down the window first is not the best thing to do. Grab your steering wheel with two hands and brace for impact.  This can prevent you from hitting your head.

If you have manual windows, roll them down immediately. But if your windows are automatic and you've lost power, you'll need a vehicle escape device.

Car escape tools have multiple features, including a seat belt cutter and hammer-like head that is used to shatter the window glass. 

If your kids are in the car, experts say bring them up to the front.  Start with the oldest child so they can help you bring the others to the front row. 

Next, break the window using the car escape device. Once the window shatters, use your elbow to push the glass out towards the water.  Then, take your children and push them out the window and up towards the surface of the water before exiting the car yourself. 

If the water is rushing into your car, experiments from experts have shown you can get still pass through the window. You can also use your feet to push off of the car once your body is out, but be careful of any broken glass from the window. 

Experts say do not try and open your door at any point in time during your escape. There is 600 pounds of pressure for every square inch of the door which makes it impossible to open. 

Also avoid breaking the windshield.  Because it's made of protected glass, it's designed not to break.  Breaking the side window is the best chance of getting out of the car.   If you do not have a car escape tool, find anything sharp and small to break the window.

Once again, here's a breakdown of what to do in the case of your car going underwater. 

  •      Brace for impact
  •      Roll down your window
  •      Take off your seatbelt
  •      Bring children to the front row
  •      Break glass using car escape tool or sharp device
  •      Push kids out driver's window and up towards surface
  •      Do not try and open door or break windshield 

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