What to do when car falls into water….

….that’s my big question of the day. Coming from a family chock full of neat little neroses, I am never short on something to obsess about.

In comes this car in water thing. I learned about this when I took lifeguarding courses as a teenager, but I can’t for the life of me remember at what point you are supposed to put the window down to minimize the rush of water and escape.

I do recall the airbubble that will be there when you first go under and that’s supposed to buy you time to get window opened and escape without being overtaken by rushing water. But I can’t remember the sequence of actions you’re supposed to follow. Anyone?

You might wonder why the hell I’m wondering. Well, I might be the bearer of dozens of useless neroses, but they are usually heightened by real life events. It just so happens I must drive over the Allegheny River (Pittsburgh has the most bridges in the world) eighty percent of the time I go somewhere. And as I sit on the Hulton Bridge, waiting for the light to change, images of the bridge dropping and being thrust into the river, cloud my brain. Even for a short second or two.

So, anyone an old lifeguard with a better memory than me?

12 thoughts on “What to do when car falls into water….

  1. I think you’re supposed to wait until the water has gone past the top of the window or the door until you can open it. Q: Do electric windows work under water? I bet this is covered in those “How to Survive” worst situations books.

  2. I’ll bet it would be hard to find anyone who hasn’t wondered the same thing at one time or another. And I think Susan is right…think you gotta wait until the water starts to come in…otherwise the pressure is too great to open??? My husband was born on the same day that bridge collapsed in West Virginia (the one that they made the Mothman Prophecies movie about). I ride over a bridge several times a day and have often gone through the “how to survive” scenario in my head.

  3. I just realized I spelled neuroses wrong in my post…feel free to correct my spelling, I’ve never been good at it.

    Beth, your tip is not useful…I must toss it into the Allegheny. No one plans to drive into water. You have to sit on the swaying Hulton while waiting for the lights to change…and conceivably, someday, it could collapse…

    Okay, Lisa and Susan, you might be right. I’ll find out and let you know.

    Oh, yeah, Beth. I heard that the most common cause of death in the desert is flash flooding, so you should read up on this, too. Hehehehe.

  4. One note: The book resources I referenced are the “Worst Case Scenario” handbooks. I did not actually read through one to see if it covered this scenario, but it apparently wasn’t “worst case” enough to make the book summaries. However, after you’ve escaped from your car under water, if you encounter a shark or crocodile, you should smack its snout to get it to release your limb from its jaws. Just a tip.

  5. Well, I do try to be helpful. 🙂

    Anyway, in AZ only the morons who drive into flooded washes have to deal with this. We actually have a “stupid motorist law” where, if you have to be rescued from a wash, you must pay back the cost of your rescue to the city. People are like “oh I can make it across in my SUV” and then they float away.

  6. Thanks Susan,

    Fortunately, at this time, I’m not obsessing over sea life attacks, but I am afraid of sharks in general. I guess I consider myself a goner if a great white starts nibbling on my thigh so I don’t worry much. In less I’m at the beach, then I make sure to follow the rules for avoiding shark attack. Believe me, I’ve got them memorized.

  7. There was a clip about this today on my SBC/Yahoo homepage. It was done with CNN. But here’s the gist of what they said. First take off your seat belt. Then unlock the doors, open your window and climb out. It sounds easy but I am sure in the moment it wouldn’t be. They had a reporter showing how to do it on a video. They also said to not take the keys out of the ignition because even though you are submerged your battery will still work. I hope you never have to see if this works!!

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