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BreakerYard.com's steps to escaping a sinking car

We’ve probably all seen a sinking car scene in a film. Some of us wonder why the people inside don’t just open the door or a window. A vague memory stirs inside us as we recall something to do with water pressure or air pressure or something. Few of us know what we should actually do in that situation or what the realities are. And, as unlikely as it might seem that we would end up in a sinking car in the first place, it does happen.

After reading this blog you should know how to escape a sinking car – something which could save your life and your family’s lives.

Here’s what to do:

  1. React quickly.
    You have between 30 seconds and 1 minute to get out before the car sinks and it becomes much less likely that you’ll escape. Do not waste time calling the police or trying to shout for help.
     
  2. Take off your seatbelt then open the windows straight away.
    Do not close the windows and hope for an air bubble.

    Once the car is submerged enough, it will be impossible for you to open the doors or windows (manually or electrically) because of the pressure differential between the inside and the outside of the car. It is essential that you take off your seatbelt and then get the windows open almost as soon as the car hits the water. Once your window is open hold onto the edge of the window so you know where it is if the car flips.

    Hint: Leave your keys in the ignition. The electrical system may carry on working if it’s in water (not guaranteed) but you won’t be able to get electric windows down without the keys where they should be.

  3. If you can’t open the windows, break them with an emergency window breaking tool.
    Trying to break a window with shoes and keys probably isn’t going to cut it. Make sure you have an emergency window breaker in the car. You can buy these from hardware stores and they can break a window quickly, easily and with very little force. Don’t try to break the windscreen though; it’s made to be a lot tougher.

    If you don’t have a window breaking tool, try and break the windows by hitting the edges and not the middle. You could also take off the headrest and use the metal prongs.

  4. Get out through the window.
    Back windows don’t always open fully so passengers in the back may need to get out through the front. As soon as the people in the front are out, the back passengers should follow (water will be rushing through the open window so they will need to force their way through it). If there are children in the back seats, you’ll need to either push or pull them through the windows (older children first).
     
  5. If the car sinks before you can get out, wait for it to fill with water. Then you’ll be able to open the doors.
    Once the car is completely full of water, the pressure will equalise and you’ll be able to open the doors or windows. Don’t rely on this though as the chances are you won’t have had enough air to be able to get out at this stage.

    Keep your hand on the door handle as the darkness of the water or the car flipping might make it hard for you to find the exit once the car has filled with water. Once out, if you can’t tell which way is up,

Just to recap…
Seatbelts off.
Windows open.
Get out.

You can also watch this brilliant video on escaping a sinking car by ABC News

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