Lebanon Tennessee Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorneys practicing auto, trucking, motorcycle and all personal injury law and DUI, Assault, Seizure and all Criminal Law.
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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

137 Public Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
FAX (615) 444-6516
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Surviving a Sinking Vehicle

sinking vehicle
Any type of automobile accident is a frightening experience, but an accident that involves an automobile crashing into a body of water (such as a bridge suddenly collapsing), with you trapped inside is nothing short of terrifying. However, many of these deaths are attributed to panic, not having the knowledge of what is occurring to the car and not having an escape plan in place.  Even, if you find yourself in a vehicle that is sinking in a flooded river, acting quickly and decisively can be a lifesaving action.

The National Highway and Transportation Administration say that approximately 400 people a year die in America due to being trapped in a sinking vehicle. It is strongly advised that you prepare yourself now, so that you do not become a victim of these statistics.

If you find yourself in this precarious situation, you have about 60 seconds to escape and survive a sinking vehicle – so quick action is imperative. Below are several rules that will significantly increase your survival rate.

  1. Do not dial 911 while you are still in a sinking vehicle, call when you are on dry land and safe. Since time will be of the essence, reaching for your cell phone will be a life-threatening error.
  2. Quickly unbuckle your seat beat (and anyone else who maybe in the vehicle).
  3. Do NOT open the door – but instead roll down the windows, if you can.  Due to the water pressure, opening the door will be very difficult (nearly impossible), and in addition, if you do manage to get the door open, it will allow too much water to get in the vehicle, and the rate of sinking will increase, limiting your survival time. 
  4. (Caveat to the above rule).  If you miss the opportunity to roll down the window (which is known as the “floating period”), and due to the fact that many vehicles these days are electronically based, the circuits will probably short out before you have a chance to roll them down – the window will need to be broken.  This is where small specialized tools (known as a Life Hammer or ResQMe keychain) will come in handy, as they are designed to break glass quickly and effectively in these types of life-threatening situations.  It is important that these potentially lifesaving tools be kept within reach at all times, as you do not want to lose precious time trying to look or fumble for them.  It is also important to note, that these devices will not work underwater, so quick action is imperative.
  5. Everybody should ideally swim out their own window, but children may need assistance swimming and pushing themselves through rushing water, so if necessary, give them a push.  Grab young children and carry them in your arms, as not to waste precious life-saving time.
Get out of the vehicle, break the water’s surface and get to safety as quickly as possible.  Then call emergency personnel to the scene.

137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457


511 Union Street, Suite 1850 Nashville, TN 37219
Via Phone: (615) 313-3999

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