The chances you will ever be trapped in a sinking car are small. But if you are, it will be a death trap, unless you know how to escape. Understanding how glass works will be important in helping you free yourself from a submerged car. The video below was produced by the popular YouTube channel, Smarter Every Day, to help you understand the science behind car windshields. This knowledge can save you from drowning.
You may already know that the glass in car windshields is different than the household glass in a tabletop or a cabinet door. That household glass is called annealed glass. It breaks into large, sharp pieces if it is exposed to force, or heat. Cars have tempered glass, which is impact-resistant. During an impact such as a car accident, it breaks off into small, square pieces.
Because tempered glass is reinforced, great force is required to break it. If you are trapped in a car which has just tumbled off the side of a bridge, your first impulse will probably be to hit or kick the center of the glass. Unfortunately, that won’t break the window. Instead, strike the edges of the window to shatter the glass and make your way out of the car. When every second counts, knowing which part of the window to hit can save your life. The video below offers much more detail.
There are also tools on the market that can help you escape a car under water. One such tool was developed for first responders. It is called resqme®, and the description on the website reads:
Over 3 million motorists worldwide carryresqme® – keychain car escape tool, to keep their family safe on the road!
This 2 in 1, safety and survival tool, allows you to cut a jammed seatbelt and to break a side window in your car.
Originally developed for first responders (firefighters EMTs, law enforcement agencies); resqme® has become an essential safety solution for all safety-conscious drivers.
The tool can be used to break car side windows and to cut a jammed safety belt. It is compact, lightweight, and inexpensive. Safety experts recommend drivers carry this, or a similar tool, whenever they drive.