Here's What You Should Do If You Find Yourself Trapped In A Sinking Car

Reaction time is key to survival.

Cover image via She Knows

Unforeseen circumstances could lead you to getting trapped in a car that is sinking underwater. In the event that this happens, the time it takes for you to react is key to your survival.

Image via She Knows

According to Canadian physiologist Professor Gordon Giesbrecht, one of the world's foremost experts on cold water submersion, all vehicles float anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes before submerging.

This means that there is a small window of opportunity to act.

If you're ever in a sinking vehicle, here are the steps you need to take to escape:

1. Unlock the car doors, but do not try to open them

Image via ABC News

Water pressure makes opening car doors extremely difficult to do, and doing so would make your car sink faster, Business Insider reported.

However, it is advised to unlock the doors anyway in the event that you have no other option.

2. Before the car is completely submerged underwater, quickly roll down your side window, unbuckle your seatbelt, and climb out

Image via Surf4cars

If there are children in the car, push them out of the window first before you get out of the car yourself.

"Once you get out of the vehicle, it becomes very difficult to get back in and rescue somebody," said Professor Giesbrecht.

He also advises starting with the oldest child, who may be able to assist younger children.

3. If you cannot open your side window due to intense water pressure, try breaking it

Image via Ztylus

Avoid spending time attempting to break the front windshield, which is built to resist impacts. The front of the car is also generally the heaviest and sinks first.

Instead, try using the headrest from your seat or your foot to break the glass by aiming at the center of the window or along the hinges.

You could also use a pointy or heavy object such as a stiletto heel, umbrella, screwdriver, or hammer if you have it at hand.

4. If you cannot get out through a window, don't panic

Take a deep breath and hold it. Once the car is completely submerged in the water, the water pressure inside and outside will be equalised. This should allow you to open the door and escape.

However, according to Professor Giesbrecht, this is considerably more difficult if the car enters the water upside down as the water pressure increases and the car tilts forward.

5. Swim out to safety

Image via PADI

If you are disorientated and unsure which direction is upwards, look for bubbles and swim in the direction in which they're rising.

If your car ever gets caught in a flood, here are some things to avoid:

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