How to Escape From a Sinking Car

How to Escape a Sinking Car

A sinking car.

One of the stickiest of sticky situations, and something you'll probably never face.

Yet, like all things preppers think about, we shall prep for it.

1. As soon as you hit the water, open your window.

This is your best chance of escape because opening the door will soon be very difficult given the outside water pressure.

To be safe, if you're driving somewhere where you think your car may indeed suddenly plunge into the depths, we'd recommend driving with the windows and doors slightly open whenever you are near the water or are driving on ice.

Opening the windows allows water to come in and equalize the pressure.

Once the water pressure inside and outside the car is equal, you'll be able to open the door with ease.

2. If your power windows won't work or you cannot roll your windows down all the way, attempt to break the glass with your foot, shoulder, or a heavy object such as an antitheft steering wheel lock.

Our roadside flashlight, fitted with a glass-smashing hammer and seat-belt cutter, will be your best friend in this very situation and makes for an excellent vehicle companion.

3. Get out.

Don't worry about leaving anything behind unless it happens to be another person.

Vehicles with engines in front will sink at a steep angle, so you must get out as soon as possible, while the car is still afloat.

If the water is fifteen feet or deeper, the vehicle may end up on its roof, upside down.

Depending on the vehicle, floating time will range from a few seconds to a few minutes. The more airtight the car, the longer it floats.

The air in the car will quickly be forced out through the trunk and cab, and an air bubble is unlikely to remain once the car hits bottom.

Get out as early as possible.

No material possession is worth risking your skin over.

4. If you are unable to open the window or break it, you have one final option.

Remain calm and do not panic.

Wait until the car begins filling with water.

Once the water reaches your head, take a deep breath and hold it.

Now the pressure should be equalized inside and outside, and you should be able to open the door and swim to the surface.

How to Avoid Breaking Through Ice While Driving

Things to keep in mind...

  • Cars and light trucks need at least eight inches of clear, solid ice on which to drive safely.
  • Driving early or late in the season is not advisable.
  • Leaving your car in one place for a long period of time can weaken the ice beneath it, and cars should not be parked--or driven--close together.
  • Cross any cracks at right angles, and drive slowly.
  • New ice is generally thicker than old ice.
  • Direct freezing of lake or stream water is stronger than refreezing, freezing of melting snow, or freezing of water bubbling up through cracks.
  • If there is a layer of snow on the ice, beware: a layer of snow insulates the ice, slowing the freezing process, and the snow's weight can decrease the bearing capacity of the ice.
  • Ice near the shore is weaker.
  • River ice is generally weaker than lake ice.
  • River mouths are dangerous because the ice near them is weaker.
  • Carry several large nails or an ice axe, alongside a length of rope. The nails or ice axe will help you pull yourself out of the ice if things get nasty, and the rope can be thrown up to someone on more solid ground. In addition, it can be used to help someone else that falls prey to the ice.

Pour Conclure

Worrying about your car sinking probably means you're on a serious adventure.

If this is the case, we're confident that this information will rush back to you if the time comes.

Stay prepared, friends!

The information presented to you here today is from Joshua Piven's book, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook - an excellent on-the-go addition to any hiking pack or bug-out-bag.

However, something like the SAS Survival Handbook will be more practical for everyday use while outdoors.


-Alexander @ Survival Cat


If you're gearing up for your next adventure, take a peek at our catalog and see if there is anything you'll need to accompany your travels.


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