It is unlikely that anyone is trained to escape from a car trapped underwater. We never imagine that we would drove our car into one. But, accident do happen. It could be a wrong turn that get you plunging into the river or pond, or a hit from other vehicle that throw you off the bridge.
People do actually get drown, trapped in their car, underwater. So, what should we do if we are ever caught in such situation. There are two possible scenario, one is the car is slowly submerging, and the other is that it happen so fast that you are immediately under water.
In any scenario, remaining calm is utmost important (easily said than done), attempt to wind down the window if possible, as you will not be able to open the door due to higher water pressure outside, making it virtually impossible to open the door.
According to the video demonstration below (unfortunately it is in Japanese), you will realise that the headrest of your car seat is deliberately kept detachable and sharp at the end, so that it can be used to break open the window in case of emergency. Watch the video to see how to break open your window.
If you are caught in a scenario that you are fast submerging underwater, Ken Burton, who was certified as an Air Force instructor, has below advise to those finding themselves underwater in their cars:
●Open the window as fast as possible — before you hit the water, if you can, or immediately afterward.
●Stay still, with your seat belt on, until the water in the car goes up to your chin. Then take several slow, deep breaths and hold one.
●Do not try to open the door until the water has stopped flooding into the car. Initially, the water outside will put pressure on the door of up to 600 pounds a square inch, meaning you won’t be able to open it from the inside. The pressure inside and outside the car should equalize about the time you start holding your breath.
●If you can’t open a door and you’re trying to break a window instead, aim for a side window, never the windshield. Windshields are several layers thicker.
●Don’t take off your seat belt until you have opened a door or window. Grip the steering wheel before you unbuckle. You’ll need something keeping you tethered so that you can pull yourself out of the car.
●Once you’re out of the vehicle, let your body take you to the surface. As Burton put it: “Don’t worry about going up or down. When you take all those deep breaths and hold it, it’s like you’re inflating a balloon.”