Tips to escape a sinking car, according to TFD

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Some may consider it an irrational fear, but many people worry about what to do if their car should be submerged underwater.

Troy Fire Department Deputy Chief Curtis Shaver says there is no one answer.

“When a vehicle becomes submerged, or when a vehicle enters a body of water, there are so many other dynamics,” Shaver said. “That is why it is so hard for organizations and fire departments to say, ‘always just do this.'”

Shaver does say there are some basic things to remember if your car becomes submerged.

“Remain calm, undo your seat belt, let your window down, and get out of the vehicle as fast as possible.”

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When a car hits the water, it will float for a short period of time depending on the type of car it is. In order to escape, Shaver warns not to break the windshield. Instead, let down the side windows.

“Most of the time they will operate, but there is a point where they won’t. So now you have the dynamic of there’s glass between you and exiting if you can’t let the window down. That’s when you have to break a window.”

Shaver recommends having a safety hammer in your car at all times. Safety hammers can be purchased at many stores including Walmart and Amazon. You can also use your keys or any other sharp object you have with you.

No matter what object you use, always aim for the corner of the side window.

“Your side windows are what we call a safety glass and they shatter to little pieces,” Shaver explained. “Some of the newer ones are laminated making them a little stronger and harder to get through, but that is still your way out.”

Although it is important to call law enforcement, Shaver urges people to wait until they have escaped the vehicle before calling 9-1-1.

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“If you have the ability to let the window down and you can get out, you need to be doing that and not calling 911. We’re not telling someone to not call 911, but we don’t want you wasting time dialing 911 when you could be getting out.”

According to the National Institute of Health, about 11% of drownings are a result of submerged vehicles.

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