WARREN COUNTY, Miss. – Three people in the last week were not able to escape from their cars after driving into water.
Details are still developing in these cases, but we got answers on what to do if your car ends up sinking in water.
Safety experts say, these critical moments could be a matter of life or death.
“Time is of the essence, I mean a car is not going to float for that long,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace explained.
Life or death could be a matter of seconds if you find yourself trapped inside a car sinking into water.
“When it’s happening is not when you need to try and figure out now what am I gong to do,” Pace said.
For more than 30 years Sheriff Pace has worked a number of drownings in the River City.
“There have been any number of tragedies where people have not been able to free themselves from the vehicle,” Pace said. “We’ve worked drownings where we would find the body of the victim still in the vehicle.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 400 people die in crashes related to drowning. Pace says knowing what to do makes all the difference and it starts with seat belts.
“Get the seat belt off get the seat belt off of any children that may be in the car,” Pace said.
He also recommends keeping a window breaking tool handy in your car over at Jackson Towing he we got a demonstration on how to use the tool. He says go for side glass because the windshield is harder to crack.
“Once water is coming up along the sides of the car it’s going to be virtually impossible to open the doors the water pressure is going to hold the doors shut and that’s why you need to concentrate on escaping through the window,” Pace said.
You may not always have a window shattering tool at your fingertips and in this situation Pace says get out of the window.
“A lot of people think don’t roll the window down because that’s going to let water in, the water is going to come in anyway, but you need to get the windows down before the electrical system in the car no longer works,” he said.
Once you are in the water Pace says focus on getting to the surface–fast.
“You may become disoriented you need to try to follow the bubbles to know where the surface is or look up for light to know which direction to go,” he explained.
Pace says you should consider getting a window breaking tool found at local parts stores.
He also says breaking the window is much harder than it looks so be prepared to use force.