How To Escape From Your Flooding Car During A Hurricane


Hurricane season has begun. You should read this.

Hurricane season officially began on June 1st and lasts until November 30th. And though Hurricane Barry has already struck, there's still plenty of time left for massive damage and destruction to take place before the end of November. Those who live in hurricane zones, like the entire state of Florida, are fully aware of what to do when one of these deadly storms is about to strike: flee north and do so fast but in an orderly fashion. Perhaps unwisely, some prefer to stay behind and hope for the best. They'll have to deal with flooding, torrential rain, wind gusts, and may also encounter a situation where they must escape their vehicles or face certain death from the floodwaters. But is there a way to escape your vehicle in an emergency like this?

There is, and AAA has just released a report on how it's done So, what do you do if you find yourself trapped in this situation? Break open the glass windshield somehow? You could try but it may not be easy. The reason why is that both tempered and laminated glass are hard to break.

Wilfredo Lee/AP
Gerry Broome/AP

AAA tried breaking both types using three hammer-style and three spring-loaded tools. None were able to break the laminated glass, but four of the six (all three spring-loaded and one hammer-style) managed to break the tempered windows. The difference between these two types of glass is that laminated windows are made by fusing two layers of tempered glass together with a layer of plastic in the middle. It's most often used for windshields because the build method makes windshields more likely to bend rather than break upon impact. Even if there's a crack, laminated glass isn't likely to shatter, which comes in handy in a crash. In a hurricane (or even a fire), however, laminated glass can be life-threatening.

Therefore, AAA suggests that drivers find out which type of glass their car has in advance, including the glass used to make the side windows. There's a label located at the bottom corner of the windows that states the type. Having an escape tool stored in the glovebox is also a smart idea. This tool should not have features like chargers or flashlights because they do nothing to improve the tool's stated purpose and performance. Keep things simple.

Chuck Burton/AP

Above all, AAA says drivers trapped in a submerged vehicle should remain calm, but work quickly and cautiously. Make sure all occupants' seat belts are unfastened. If you're still able to roll down the windows then do so and escape quickly. Water will immediately begin rushing inside. If the windows cannot roll down for any reason, then begin using that escape tool.

AAA also recommends calling 911 only after everyone has escaped. Your first goal should be to escape and calling 911 could waste time you don't have.

Deccan Chronicle
Jacinta Quesada/FEMA

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