Of all the potential kinds of crashes, one of the kinds that people seem to fear most is the risk of submersion. If you live near a lake or small river, you may also have a fear of going into this water if you’re involved in a car crash.
It’s safe to say that vehicle submersions are not extremely common, though they are often depicted on TV and in the media. Less than .5% of all crashes result in vehicles going underwater or bursting into flames, so the likelihood of either serious crash occurring if you get hit is small. That being said, if you do find yourself in that position, you should know what to do.
Water submersion is uncommon and survivable
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle submersions and resulting deaths make up less than 1% of all traffic fatalities across the nation. These are more common in states like North Carolina, Florida and California, but if you have water near you, then you might find that they are more common in your area, too.
What do you do if you’re in a sinking car? The suggestion made by most experts is to roll down the window as soon as you hit the water. Before the vehicle totally submerges, you should get out and get on top of the vehicle or swim to shore.
In the case that you’re stuck or cannot break the glass, you’ll have to wait until the vehicle is totally submerged. It’s hard to open the doors or windows when water pressure is present, so you may have to allow the vehicle to fill before you’ll have an opportunity to escape. This is an extremely dangerous type of crash, and most people do not survive it without help. If you have a cell phone and can connect, call 911 and give your location, so the fire department and other rescue workers can come to you as soon as possible.
Water submersion in a crash is not likely to be something you have to worry about, but if you are hit and end up submerged, do your best to get out of the vehicle as soon as you can. If you suffer injuries, the at-fault driver may still be held liable.