Flooded waterway

Cars and Waterways

Although Florida is known to have many canals, lakes, pools and waterways, many recreational communities in all states have these types of waterways also, and with summer these areas will soon be busy with many visitors.

Could your car end up in the water because of a mistake, like hitting the gas instead of the brake, or being involved in a crash and suddenly you are pushed into a situation that you didn’t expect. Sometimes flooded areas can merge together with a canal or river or lake. What do you do if you find yourself in your car that went into the water?

The answer of course is “Be Prepared”. Have a Plan. There are several acronyms that might help you remember and that can apply to such situations.

The SOS-GO is one emergency reminder.

S – Stay calm

Evaluate your situation quickly. Realize that there may be pressure against the doors and they cannot open immediately.

O – Open the Window

You can roll down the window and leave the vehicle. If you have power windows it may be more difficult. Sometimes the window will work for a few minutes or they could stop working as soon as you hit the water. If that becomes the case, you should have something available to break the window. There are commercial tools available on-line, in dealerships or in auto supply stores. There is the window punch which can be on a key chain or the life-hammer which is mounted in the car somewhere near the driver.

S – Seatbelt must be disengaged.

If you cannot unclip your seatbelt, the life hammer usually has a way to cut the belt.

GO – Get Out

It is most important to leave your vehicle as quickly as possible.

The other acronym that is sometimes used as a reminder is POGO.

P – Pop your belt.

This tells you first to open your seatbelt. If you cannot get it off, cut it with your tool.

O – Open your door.

If the door cannot open, break the window.

GO – Get Out.

Again, the most important thing to remember is that you cannot stay in the vehicle to wait for help.

Some suggestions for surviving a sinking car include being calm and working quickly to get out. Most vehicles will float for only a minute or two before they begin to submerge.

5 steps to safety include:

  • Unclip your seat belt or cut it.
  • Roll down your window quickly or break it.
  • If you cannot get the window to open, look for another means of escape like the rear window or sunroof.
  • If there is no other way to get out, try to open the door. The door may be very heavy, make sure it is unlocked.
  • If the door will not open, try to be calm, wait until the inside of the car is almost filled with water. Take a deep breath and keep trying to get the door to open. When the pressure is equal the door will open.

The most important things to remember is that you must find a way to GET OUT.