3 ways you can survive a flash flood if you’re in a car

We’ve seen the devastation caused by the floods in Kwa-Zulu Natal and other parts of South Africa. The loss of life, damage to property, and overall impact on the livelihood of those affected are difficult to imagine. Gumtree has listed 3 ways to help you survive, if you were to find yourself caught in a flash flooding situation while driving.

The speed at which a car sinks is determined by a few elements, including the speed and angle of entry, the vehicle’s physical attributes, and the distance of the fall. If you do find yourself in this situation, remember:


Stay calm and don’t panic

Panic and your capacity to control it can make the difference between life and death in this type of situation. Take a deep breath and resist the urge to start looking for the car door, you should have enough time to take control of the situation and save your life.


Don’t unbuckle your seatbelt immediately

While it might be instinctive to go for your seatbelt first, it’s essential to consider your surroundings first. If your vehicle takes impact with another car or foreign objects, you may want to wait until after the impact to unbuckle. Once you’ve established there’s no threat, first, unbuckle your seatbelt before assisting passengers.


Open your windows


The time estimate for this varies but consider that you only have 30 seconds to complete it. Unless your vehicle is underwater, most automated windows will open. This is your best option, so if you can, open a window. Your car door will likely become impossible to open if fully submerged in water; in this instance, you will need to swim out of your window.

In some severe cases, the car may be sinking rapidly, so it is essential to ensure the water pressure inside the vehicle matches the water pressure outside the car. This will prevent a rush of water from coming into the car, impacting your ability to exit. Once you are fully submerged, you may be able to open your door, or you will need to break the window using your force; it takes concentrated force on a small area of a window to shatter the glass. If a window will not open or can’t be broken, try moving to the back of the vehicle or anywhere you can locate an air pocket, and stay at it until all air has left the car. If needed, remove your headrest and use the metal spokes to smash your window.


You should never return to a sinking or flooded vehicle unless there is another person in it that you are trying to save. There is nothing worth risking your life for unless it is to save someone else.

Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash


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