April 2nd, 2014
As spring finally begins to warm much of the country, many areas will experience flooding. Between the rain that is common during this time of year and the melting snow, it's not unusual to see rivers spilling over their banks as water levels rise. If you find that you have run your car off a bridge or are submerged in flood waters, here is what you have to know to get out safely:
Be sure you're insured
No one expects that their car is going to end up in a river. However, accidents of all kinds happen every day, so be sure to keep your car insurance up to date.
It's easy to panic in these situations. Even if you're normally a calm, cool and collected person, it's hard to say how you are going to react in extreme situations. However, it is essential that you keep your wits about you and have a clear head. Call 911 if possible.
Turn on your lights and unlock your doors
Both your headlights and hazards should be switched on so you can more easily be spotted by emergency rescue crews. Make sure all of your doors are unlocked to help you get out and for those helping you get in. Make sure you take off your seatbelt immediately, as well.
Lower your window
Your best escape route is through the windows, so roll them down slowly. If they can be lowered - they should be able to unless your car is completely submerged in water and you have electric windows - climb out if possible and get to higher ground.
Escaping through the door
If getting out through the window is not possible, you'll have to use the door. However, you should not even attempt to open the doors until the pressure is equalized between the interior and exterior of the car, which means you'll have to allow the car to fill up most of the way with water. Again, it's essential to stay calm to preserve energy and retain as much oxygen as possible. Wait until the water is about neck level. It's not a good idea to break the window, as the water pressure will cause the glass to explode inward and possibly injure you. Once the pressure has equalized, you should be able to open the door and swim to safety. Do not stay with your car, especially in moving water.