How to Survive When Your Vehicle is Under Water

Being able to quickly exit a car that is being submerged in water is very important to know how to do should your area be threatened by a hurricane, as there is often severe flooding following. There are of course other instances in which this might happen, so everyone should know what to do.

Recently a video of two men saving a woman and her dog from drowning in a submerged vehicle went viral.  This woman was extremely fortunate to have these men come across her in time.  Had it been a minute later, even if she were alive they might not have known that the vehicle was occupied, and she would have died.  Don’t put yourself in this woman’s position, where she was reliant upon the actions of others for her survival. Here are a few steps you can take if your vehicle is in imminent danger of being submerged that might save your life.


Unbuckle your seat belt

It might seem obvious, but in a panic, it’s easy to forget something as easy as removing their seatbelt in order to exit their vehicle.  This has been recorded in other high-stress situations like police attempting a quick exit after a high-speed chase.

Roll down your window

Roll your windows down as quickly as you can.  Being submerged in water can short out your vehicle’s electric systems and make it so that your power windows and door locks cannot work.  Having your windows stuck while rolled up will mean the water pressure outside the vehicle pushing on the door is much greater than the pressure on the inside.  This makes it nearly impossible to open the door to escape until the vehicle has slowly filled with water and the pressure has equalized.

Take off Clothing

Shoes and cotton clothing can absorb water quickly, and will easily weigh you down while you are trying to swim to land.  While it will take some energy to remove wet clothing while treading water, if you have much distance to cover, or if you are in a swift current, it will be worth it.  Take your shoes off first, then any jacket or sweatshirt.

When you remove your pants, keep ahold of them because they can be used as a floatation device.  To do so, first button them back up and zip them up again, turn them upside down and take the legs just below the knees, cross them over and tie them in a knot, there should be enough slack to do this again and tighten the knot, then position the pants behind your head while holding the waste, quickly raise them as high as you can in the air with the waist as open as you can manage and bring them down underwater.  When the pants have inflated, hold the waist tight together under the water and squeeze your head through the legs. (Only do this if you have time, of course, as vehicles can sink very quickly.)


If your vehicle is submerged in water, there will not be time to think about your options.  Like every other aspect of survival you need to have a plan in place beforehand, and react as quickly as you can.

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