There was a story in the local news today about a missing older man who ended up being found in his car, submerged in a lake near a boat launch. Investigators are still piecing together what events led up to the car going into the lake. I do hear stories about this from time to time, usually as a result of the car going off the road in bad weather.
So, how do you escape from a submerged vehicle?
First, try to remain calm. You’ll have several minutes of air in the car with you. As the car is sinking to the bottom, unlatch your seat belt.
The doors won’t open due to the weight of the water against them, so don’t bother struggling with them. You’ll need to exit the vehicle through a window. If you have crank windows, open one of them, allowing the water to come in. However, if you have electric windows, they probably won’t work because of water getting into the electrical system. If that’s the case, you’ll have to break a window open. If you’ve had the foresight to keep an Emergency Hammer in the car, use that to break a window. If not, you’ll have to kick out a window. Don’t try to kick your foot through the window as that could lead to lacerations. Instead, use both feet to push steadily on a window until it breaks.
Water will be rushing in and this will hinder any attempt to climb out right away. Let the water fill the vehicle as you take deep breaths of the remaining air. Once the vehicle is mostly full, you’ll be able to climb through the open window and swim to the surface.