It's the stuff of nightmares: after swerving to avoid an obstacle, your car has landed in a body of water. You've survived the impact, but you can feel the car sinking and the water is starting to leak in. What do you do?
Thinking Fast and Smart Is Critical
First: take three breaths to focus your mind. Then, follow these steps:
- Open the window. If your window is manual, roll it down as soon as you can. If the electric window fails to respond or only rolls partway, you may have to break it using the hammer in your car's emergency kit. If you have no other heavy objects, brace yourself and kick out the front windshield.
- Wait for the car to submerge. This may be the scariest part of a water landing. It is vital that you wait for the car to submerge, as opening the door may be impossible due to the force of water pressure. When the car is nearly filled, take a deep breath.
- Unbuckle your seat belt. Just before you open the door, remember to unbuckle your seat belt. After you've gotten free of the car, swim to the surface and flag down a passing vehicle to call 911.