If My Car Plunges into Water What do I do? (With 3 True Stories)

Even though the idea may sound like a bad dream, cars submerged in water with people in them does happen. True stories have happened with cars swerving off a bridge, rolling into a lake, or ending up in a river. What would you do if this happened to you?!

Unbuckle your seatbelt and get a window rolled down as quickly as possible. The window will not roll down once the car has sunk under water. Aid other passengers and escape the vehicle. These are the steps you need to keep in mind to be prepared for such an emergency.

Seems like a bad dream but it is surprising to search news stories and find horrible accidents that involve cars being submerged in water. In some cases there were people that died because they did not react fast enough and were not prepared properly with what to do in such a situation.

But there are also incredible rescue and survival stories and so I share a few of the top news stories of cars submerged in water.

The Official Steps to Escaping a Submerged Car

1. Unbuckle your Seatbelt

First reaction when hitting the water should be to unbuckle your seatbelt. The sooner this is done, the better because it will allow you to move freely about the vehicle to help other passengers and the car may tilt to heaviest side down which is the front of the car (due to the engine).

When a Car is Underwater Does it Become More Difficult to Unbuckle the Seatbelt?

Water alone does not make it more difficult to unclick a seatbelt. Unclicking a seatbelt however does become significantly more difficult in a high stress situation that causes one to panic and lose the motor skills or clear thought to unclick a seatbelt.

Thousands of hours have been spent on engineering ensuring durability and reliability of seatbelts even after intense car crashes. There is no need to suspect that your seatbelt buckle will not work under water.

A seatbelt rarely ever fails to disengage.

2. Roll Down the Window

Rolling down the window may seem counter intuitive as it will allow water to rush into the vehicle as it sinks, but if the windows are not rolled down before the car is submerged, they will stop working due to water pressure on the outside of them. Whether automatic or manual roll down the windows immediately to be your route of escape!

A car window will operate for 15 to 45 seconds once the vehicle hits the water. Once the car sinks low enough under water, the water will create enough pressure on the glass to prevent the window regulator motor from operating and from being able to operate a manual window crank.

The water will quickly short out the electronics in the car rendering the window inoperable in a short amount of time.

3. Assist Others and Get Out!

Once you have removed your own seatbelt and have a window down, you have a way of escape but of course won’t forget the other passengers.

By removing your seatbelt and opening a window, even if something happens and another passenger is having trouble getting out of the vehicle, you have the ability to swim out of the car, get some air, and head back in to help them out.

When a car is submerged it will tilt forward toward the heavy side (the front) of the car. This is another great reason why you need to be free of the seatbelt and able to move about right away.

Slip out of a jammed seatbelt or cut it with the fancy seatbelt cutter feature on the cool knife I link to in a bit.

If My Car Plunges into Water Do I Roll The Windows Down?

If submerged in water in a car, first unbuckle yourself then immediately roll down the windows. You must roll down the window right away before water has a chance to create enough pressure to prevent you from opening a door or window. Having a point of escape is most important and the window is the best way out.

The window is even better than the door because even as the car only begins to sink, the door will be very difficult if not impossible to open from the surrounding water. You will have more time of being able to roll down the window than opening the door.

Some may think by keeping the windows up you will delay the amount of time it will take for the car to fill up with water extending the amount of time you will have to get yourself and others unbuckled from the car.

The reason you should roll the windows down first thing are because if they windows stay up, they will stop working and you will be unable to roll them down due to the water pressure on the outside of the car. The doors will also not open until the car is completely filled with water again due to water pressure.

Is a window breaker a good tool to have for an emergency?

A window breaker is an excellent emergency tool to have on hand. It may save your life or someone else’s life if there is an incident where a car submerges in water. The best bet to escape is to break a window and you may be able to use something like a headrest, but a window breaker is most effective.

A simple $20 Smith and Wesson knife is enough to save you in an emergency situation. You have got to read these reviews on Amazon.

Reach into your pocket right now. Did you find one of those window breakers? If not, you will most likely not have one on hand when somehow you end up in an accident into a body of water. So pick one up if you would like to be prepared some day!

Do window breakers work under water?

Window breakers will work even under water. Despite the fact that water will provide a lot of resistance to your swinging arm, window breakers do not require much force to break the glass.

Read the stories below and in one of them a 5-year-old was rescued by breaking the car windows in a car trapped under water.

This Smith and Wesson knife will do the trick for you to be prepared from here on out for the rare instance you may need a window punch. At only $20 bucks this knife is super affordable to keep in your glovebox and will most definitely come in handy as a regular pocket knife but also be there for an emergency. With tons of excellent reviews this would be the knife I recommend for you to purchase to keep on hand and keep peace of mind.

Bridge over water by Shaun Darwood on Unsplash

Be Mentally Prepared for a Submerged Car Situation

If you were to someday somehow end up crashing into a body of water inside a car, without some forethought, you are going to panic. The reason that people have died in such circumstances is this very reason. They panic. When panicking they cannot think clearly enough to do the simplest things to escape.

Mental preparedness is everything!

The issue is that if not prepared or having given it some forthought you will not instinctively unclick the seatbelt and then roll down the window. But that is exactly what you should do.

By reading this you are preparing yourself for that one in a million chance that you happen to submerge your car in water someday.

“So you’re saying there’s a chance!”

Loyd from Dumb and Dumber

Here are the news stories to inspire you to stay mentally prepared.

Real News Stories Where A Car Was Submerged in Water

Here are a few top real stories that i sum up in my own words!

References to where I got these news stories from are at the bottom of the article.

5-year-old rescued after trapped in a submerged car for more than 10 minutes

This miraculous rescue from a vehicle that submerged under water happened in 2019 in the Kinkaid Lake in Kentucky.

Police officers with the help of the toddlers’ father and a park ranger rescued a 5-year-old that was alone in a car that inadvertently rolled down a hill into 10 feet of water!

It took them so long to get the boy out because the windows were up. Fortunately one of the officers that arrived on the scene had a knife with a window breaker end on it. After breaking two windows they were able to find the boy (by feel since the water was too murky to see).

To their surprise the toddler was alive and had survived with a small pocket of air that was trapped in the vehicle with him.

The officer had been given the knife as a gift just the day before and they were amazed to see the boy alive. What a miracle! The boy was life flighted out and survived. Happy ending and the officers attribute the rescue credit to the Lord for saving the boy.

The article can be read on newstimes.

Second Story

In Canada a 22 year old fell asleep at the wheel, crashed and blacked out. She was extremely fortunate to have survived after being trapped in the car for several minutes.

She reported that the car filled up very quickly and she had a difficult time removing her seatbelt and blacked out. Fortunate for her, she was rescued.

She was saved by good folks that saw the car swerve off the bridge and they dove in to pull her out.

This is also a good reminder to not drive tired!

This article can be read on Buffalo News.

Third Story

A family in England hit a brick and swerved off the road into a canal.

One of the passengers smashed his window as the car was sinking and was able to escape but had to pull the rest of his family out of the car to safety.

He dove down several times to rescue the rest of his family including his father with severe arthritis.

First responders were called and good thing because the last passenger was pulled from the vehicle unconscious but was revived by paramedics. All survived and it was a happy ending!

This article can be read on Daily Mail.

Hope it doesn’t happen to us but let’s certainly be prepared.

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