How to Escape a Submerged Car

You’ve probably seen movies where an action hero drives a vehicle off a bridge into deep water below. Often this hero is pursued by bad men and bullets, but against all odds he or she is able to escape the submerged vehicle and swim to safety. This makes for an intense Hollywood scene, but in reality escaping a submerged car is something everyone should be prepared for, including the drivers of rental trucks.

Brace for Impact

You swerved to avoid an accident and now your vehicle — one of your company’s rental trucks — is plummeting off a bridge toward the water below. Grab the wheel and brace for impact. Avoid crossing your arms across your chest. The impact against the water may activate your air bags. The last thing you need in a submerged vehicle is broken arms. Do your best not to panic. Stay focused on an escape plan.

Release Your Seatbelt

Immediately after impact, unbuckle your seatbelt. In the panic of the situation, some people forget to unbuckle while sinking in their rental trucks. Neglecting to unbuckle can be fatal for obvious reasons. Seatbelts are meant to protect you in impact, so after impact unbuckle immediately. It only takes between 60 and 120 seconds for a car to sink completely. You need to be able to get free from the car as soon as possible.

Open the Window

The electronics in your car will usually work for about three minutes after your car starts sinking. You don’t want to wait for three minutes, but start rolling your window down as soon as possible. This is going to be your best escape route. Your likelihood of drowning increases if you don’t have an immediate escape. Breaking out a window takes energy and time that you don’t have when sinking into the depths of a river or lake.

Break the Window

If you aren’t able to open the window, you’ll need to break it. There is no time to search for something heavy, grab anything. Rental trucks are bound to have a hammer or screwdriver lying around in the cab. It doesn’t matter what it is, just use it to break the window. If there is nothing, start kicking one of your side windows. Center your blows on any of the side windows. As soon as the window breaks, swim free from the vehicle.