It is amazing how quickly you can get yourself in a bad situation without any intent. I have a staff member that recently found herself inside her Lexus during a fierce pop-up thunderstorm, floating sideways drifting towards a tree. She is an intelligent, law-abiding and cautious person, a seasoned driver who has possessed her license almost 35 years. She simply and suddenly within moments, got caught in a torrential thunderstorm. And by the time she realized what was happening, she was already in the thick of disaster. Luckily for her, the car ended up softly wedged against the oak and her car did not fill up with water. If the auto had missed the tree it would have went over an embankment and down a hill.
She was shaken up and told me that although she has worked in the insurance industry for a few years and she writes articles for our social media sites about how to avoid “just this situation” when she was in the moment, she forgot everything she already knew.
She asked that I post on my blog a reminder of the basics of what to do when ‘Suddenly You Are Floating” and I told her I would be happy to.
What to DO:
- First and foremost remain calm. Panicking will make the situation worse.
- Unlock your doors and lower your windows. The electricity in your car may fail if the water gets as high as the engine.
- Unbuckle your seatbelt so that you have the ability to maneuver.
- Take off jacket, coat, gloves and any other clothing that may weigh you down.
- Turn on your hazard lights and headlights. It will warn other drivers that you are in trouble.
- Get out of the car. Either crawl through the window or open the door. If the door will not open, you must wait for the water pressure on the inside and outside of the car to level. You may have to wait for the water to rise up to the window level and then it will open. Try to stay calm. Hold your breath, then push the door.
- Find high ground and call for help.
What you should NOT do:
- Attempt to remove your possessions from the car. You can waste valuable time searching and get stuck.
- Open the doors before the pressure inside and outside of the car equalizes. The Incredible Hulk could not budge that door until the pressure adjusts.
- Smash the car windows. The rush of water from the exterior of the car mixed with broken glass could cut you.
- Stay with your car. A 1-ton shifting car is impossible to control and could crush you or push you under the water. Swim or walk away from it.
- Do not attempt to return to your car. Let the experts recover your property.
As my staff member can attest, being in this situation can propel you into panic mode and you can forget what to do and what NOT to do. The key is to remain calm and get away from the vehicle as quickly as possible. ….
I can tell you working in insurance for so many years, that no property or possession is worth your life. Let it go. And then once you are safe and sound, call us. Your Comprehensive Auto Insurance policy, should cover many of the damages that occurred. Our Claims Specialist will be there to help restore your life back to normal.
Be safe. :)