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Escaping a Sinking Vehicle


Losing control of your vehicle, whether due to a collision or a vehicle malfunction,

is absolutely terrifying. The terror must ramp up exponentially if that vehicle winds up in water.  Watching the water rise outside your windows, what should you do? Knowing the answer to that question could save your life, especially here in Florida, where we are in the top five states in the nation for fatalities involving vehicles fully or partially submerged in water. In fact, the top cause of death in single-vehicle accidents is drowning in a vehicle that has landed in water.

Seconds Matter 

In a situation where a vehicle winds up in water, every second counts. In all likelihood, as soon as the vehicle hits the water, that water will start to enter the vehicle, putting pressure on occupants to rise to the roof. That water may be muddy and cold, limiting your view. Anyone would be inclined to panic, but experts say that’s the worst thing you can do. You may have as little as 30 seconds before your vehicle completely submerges, so you have to act fast. Focus on getting yourself and other occupants out of the vehicle.  Calling 911 will not get help there in time.  This is going to be up to you.

1-       Click out of your seatbelt so you’re no longer restrained and can maneuver. If you have kids in the car, unbuckle the oldest seatbelt first and get them to help with the younger kids. Car seats can be more difficult, especially if you can’t see. Quickly feel your way to unsnapping restraints so you can get younger children close to you.

2-       Roll down your windows.  That’s how you will be escaping from the vehicle, and it will be easier if you can do it before the water reaches them, so move fast. As water surrounds your vehicle, it will apply pressure and make it difficult to open them, let alone doors.  Luckily, automatic windows will still work for a while after a vehicle is completely submerged. Don’t even try to open the door, because even if you can get it open, pressure will likely slam it shut, potentially causing injuries or catching clothes in the door, and definitely filling the car with water more quickly. If your windows won’t open, try using an escape tool designed for the occasion that is kept  on your keychain or somehow attached to the dash.

3-       Once you have an open window, get the kids out oldest to youngest first, and follow them immediately. Depending on their ages, older kids may be able to take hold of younger ones as you hand them out. When everyone is out, float or swim to a safe spot. Now’s the time to call 911.

Stay Alive 

Research indicates that accidents involving submerged vehicles occur 10,000 times annually, resulting in hundreds of deaths, but thousands of survivors, too. If you are in this type of accident as a result of a negligent or reckless driver or due to mechanical error, you may be in a prime position to file a personal injury lawsuit. Contact the experienced Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group to find out more.



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