Florida's waterways make for beautiful scenery, but they can be dangerous in a crash. In a recent crash in the St. Petersburg area, two vehicles ended up in a canal. Everyone made it out safely thanks to quick-thinking bystanders, but the situation could have easily turned deadly.
Despite canal guardrail projects throughout Florida, canal crashes still occur, and they can be fatal. Even if the driver and passengers are uninjured by the force of the crash, they may not be able to escape from the submerged vehicle. In fact, around 400 Americans die every year by drowning in their vehicles. If you’re involved in an automobile crash that lands you in a canal or other waterway, follow these tips to get out safely:
- Safety preparation — Buy an emergency safety tool and place it near the driver’s seat of your vehicle. This tool contains a seat belt cutter and a window breaker to use in a waterway crash. It can help you escape from a tangled seatbelt, or break open an electric window whose wiring has been fried by water.
- Window escape — The faster you get out of the vehicle, the more likely you are to survive. Remove your seat belt and open your window as fast as you can. The pressure of the water probably will prevent your door from opening until the car is submerged, so you should escape through your window immediately.
- Door escape — If you can’t escape through your window, you need to wait for the vehicle to fill with water. Because of the pressure exerted by the surrounding water, it is nearly impossible to open the door until the water fills the interior of the vehicle. Wait for the water to reach your chin, take a deep breath and open the door to swim to safety.
If you have been involved in a canal crash, you may have a claim against a number of parties. Contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney to discuss your legal options.