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Fort Lauderdale Accident Injury Lawyer Gives Tips On How To Escape A Sinking Car

December 1, 2010

On November 8, 2010, four Vero Beach, FL high school students tried to take a turn too fast in the rain. Their car slid on the unpaved road and flipped into a canal. All four teens survived possibly drowning from the accident due to the calm and quick thinking of two of the teens. One June 21, 2010, a Miami Springs, FL woman was involved in an collision with another car. The impact of the crash propelled her car across the road and into the nearby canal. She was actually saved by the driver of the other auto involved in the crash and by a nearby bystander.

Most people don’t think about drowning in a car accident – they are more worried about personal injuries or wrongful deaths from auto accidents. However, we live in a state that is criss-crossed by waterways. Many of us drive over bridges and along canals on a daily basis while commuting to work or running errands. Because of this, South Florida drivers and passengers must also consider the possibility of water-immersion if they are involved in an auto accident.

As a result, Fort Lauderdale accident injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, gives these tips for how to escape a sinking car:

  1. The first thing to do is remain calm – if you panic, you may not be able to remember the following steps for survival. Depending on the speed and trajectory at which your car entered the water, you will have between two and ten minutes to exit the car before it goes underwater – enough time to get out, so don’t panic.
  2. Unlock your door and unfasten your seat belt immediately. If you can’t unfasten the seat belt, you’ll need to cut it with something. Just as people carry umbrellas in their cars in case of rain, everyone should carry a LifeHammer – a tool with a cutting edge that will slice through a jammed seat belt (Dr. Oz even endorsed them on his show!).
  3. Are there any windows (the rear window, sunroof, or side windows) that were broken during the accident? You can escape a sinking car by climbing or swimming out of them: but be careful of cutting yourself on broken glass
  4. If there are no broken windows, roll down your own window quickly before the water reaches the height of the window. If you can do this, you can climb out of the car and swim to shore.
  5. If you have power windows in your car, you won’t be able to roll them down because the electrical system won’t work once the water has gotten to it. You’ll need to break the window to get out (another good reason for carrying a LifeHammer). The front windshield is made of safety glass and is almost impossible to break – try a passenger window or the back window instead. Aim to hit the corners of the windows, not the middle, and concentrate your force in one area to weaken it instead of striking all over the window..
  6. If you can not get out of a window, try to open the door slowly. It will be very heavy due to water pressure and you may not be able to open it on the first try. You may need to wait until the inside of the car is almost filled with water and the pressure equalizes before you will be able to open the door.
  7. There will be a pocket of air at the top of the car – if you stay in this air pocket, you can breathe while the car is sinking.
  8. If you do get out of the car, NEVER go back to retrieve personal effects like your purse, wallet, or keys! There is nothing worth risking your life to go back for, except for another person who is trapped inside. One man we know of had easily escaped his vehicle and went back for his personal belongings. After he reentered the car, his electrical system malfunctioned, raising the windows and locking the doors – and effectively trapping him inside. Even though he had already escaped once, he narrowly missed dying for his wallet and shoes.

We can’t ever assure our safety and security against personal injury or wrongful death while driving, but when you consider that, annually, more than 10,000 people are involved in water-immersion auto accidents, the Florida waterways add another element of danger to our daily travels. While we hope you never have to worry about it, these tips for how to escape a sinking car may just come in handy someday.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you need answers to your legal questions! For more information about an injury claim, contact Fort Lauderdale accident injury lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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