A car, a truck and a camper ended up in the Skagit River after part of the Interstate 5 bridge there collapsed Thursday. Everyone got out safely.
What should you do if your car ends up in the water? Here are some tips from the National Safety Commission.
- Don’t panic.
- In most cases, your car will float for about three minutes before its weight pulls it down. Don’t try to open the door because the water pressure will keep it from opening. Unbuckle your seatbelt, roll down your window and get out. Most cars these days have electric windows, but you may have power long enough to get the window down.
- If your car doesn’t float and is pulled under right away, then you may have to wait for the car to fill up with water in order to equalize the pressure. Again, don’t panic. Once the pressure is equalized, you should be able to open the door and get out or roll down the window and climb out. But if your doors and windows are electric, you may be locked in. That takes us to Step 4.
- If you are locked in, you’ll need to break the windows. Keep your seatbelt on (we’ll explain why in a minute). Remember that your best chance is to break out either the driver or passenger side windows. The front and rear windshields are going to be much harder to break. You may want to keep a hammer or a spring-loaded center punch in your car somewhere that you can easily reach it in an emergency. You can find them at hardware stores.
- Here’s why you should leave your seatbelt on if you are locked in. If you break out a window before your interior is completely filled with water, it could send the water rushing in. Without your seatbelt, you could be pushed under the dashboard and get trapped. Once the water has filled the car, unbuckle your seatbelt.
- Swim to the surface, get some air and then go back down to the vehicle if you need to rescue another trapped person and if you are a strong enough swimmer to do so.
Again, the big key during all this is to not panic.