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What to do if you are trapped in a sinking car

car sinking

While sinking car accidents are less common than road accidents, they are not unheard of. With a short window of time to response, it is crucial to be aware of the steps to escape the situation when you get caught in one.  

Check out these lifesaving tips that could help you conserve energy and stay focused on escaping a sinking car. 


  1. Stay calm.

    Every second is crucial and should be spent escaping because a car will float for approximately 30 to 120 seconds before sinking. Dont call for help until you're out of the vehicle. 

  2. Free yourself.

    Unbuckle your seat belt and remove any item that may weight you down, such as your jacket, to help you move inside the car and swim with ease. 

  3. Roll down or break the window and get out.

    Electric windows may work within the first minute of the sinking. If you re unable to unwind the window due to mechanical failure or water pressure, break the side window by aiming at the centre of along the hinges of the window with sharp or heavy object and climb out as quickly as possible. 

  4. Children first.

    If you are traveling with children, free the eldest child first and push them out of the window so the eldest child can help with the younger ones. 

    Remember, help them after you have unbuckled your seat belt, unwound the window on your side, and before you get out of the car. 

  5. Swim to Safety.

    Push off the car and swin to the surface. Look for bubbles and follow thier direction to know which way is up in case of disorientation. 

* Source:

1. Foster Wallace - Five Tips for Escaping a Sinking car 

2. Royal Life Saving Western Australia - Escaping a sinking vehicle 

3. ABC News - Escaping a sinking car: Staying put is 'death trap' says Canadian expert

4. - Here's What You Should Do If You Find Yourself Trapped In A Sinking Car

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