3 Steps for Survival if Your Car Is Submerged in Freezing Water

Roll down the window of a sinking car to escape more quickly.It’s only a winter wonderland while you are in control of your vehicle. Icy roads threaten your control and can be dangerous for many reasons. Snow, ice and sleet make driving increasingly challenging during winter months. Due to dangerous roadway conditions, the risk of accidents is high. One type of accident you probably have not thought of is one that results in a vehicle being submerged in a frozen body of water.

Every year, many accidents like this one are reported where a car slides off the road and lands on an iced-over body of water such as a lake, river, or retention ponds. More often than not, the ice will not be thick enough to sustain the 4,000 pounds of the vehicle. The ice will crack and the car will be submerged in the frigid water. If the water is deep enough, the car will sink to the bottom. In a situation such as this, it is important to refrain from panicking and take immediate action to escape from the vehicle.

How to Safely Escape a Sinking Car in Freezing Weather

1. Open Your Window to Escape the Car

Your initial thought may be to pause and call 911, but instead, immediately lower a window and exit the car as soon as it lands in the water. If you don’t open the window, the water pressure enclosing the vehicle will make it harder to escape as it sinks.

2. Seek Unbroken Ice to Get Yourself Out of the Water

Once you are in the water, the low temperatures threaten to numb your body making it more difficult to swim. This is why you must get to unbroken ice as soon as possible and pull yourself up. To do so, kick your feet quickly and use your upper body to pull yourself out. Your elbows can be used for support as you climb over the edge.

Once you are out of the water, do not stand up. The ice could crack again from your body weight. You should lie on your side and roll to solid ground, away from the frozen body of water. This will distribute your weight evenly throughout the ice making it less likely to break.

3. Reach the Shore and Call 911

When you reach the edge you should find a warm shelter then call the police. If you stay outside in low temperatures, you are at-risk for hypothermia.

How to Avoid a Submersion Accident

The best way to avoid this type of accident is to exercise caution while on the road. It is also important to be aware of the frozen bodies of water in your area and monitor your surroundings while you are outside. People fall through ice while skating, ice fishing and doing a variety of winter-time activities. Children and pets are also at risk of falling in frozen bodies of water and are less likely to know how to escape the situation.

A fall through ice can be catastrophic, but this knowledge can be life-saving for you or a loved one this winter. If you fall through ice, remember these steps:

  • Don’t panic
  • Roll down your window
  • Swim to unbroken ice
  • Kick rapidly
  • Use your upper body to climb over the ice
  • Roll to solid ground
  • Find shelter
  • Call the police

Negligence of Other Drivers Can Lead to Submersion

If the negligence of another driver has resulted in your injury, do not hesitate to reach out to Keller & Keller today. Winter weather can make the road a dangerous place. We offer free consultations and are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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