What to Do If Your Vehicle Ends Up in a Florida Waterway

by Carmen Dellutri on June 13, 2011

Cape Coral personal injury attorneySeventeen vehicles have ended up in Cape Coral's waterways since the start of the year, the Cape Coral Breeze reports. Luckily, none of the incidents have proved fatal. In 2009, there were 16 fatalities and 413 injuries across Florida due to a vehicle running off a road and into water.

According to authorities, Florida submerged vehicle accidents typically involve a vehicle running across a vacant lot and ending up in a canal or driving off a bridge, often after losing control or hydroplaning.

Most recently, the driver of a Lexus SUV mistakenly traveled down a boat ramp and into a canal next to Rumrunners at Cape Harbour. The driver stated that he did not know he was driving toward a boat ramp.

So what should you do if you find yourself in a submerged vehicle?

As stated by Cape Coral Fire Department Division Chief Tom Tomich, "A lot of it has to do with staying calm and composed as much as possible."

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • The heaviest end of a vehicle will sink first - the engine. Depending on how well sealed a vehicle is, it can float from 30 seconds to about four minutes.
  • Drivers should unbuckle their seat belt and tell occupants to do the same.
  • Unlock the doors and roll the windows down to equalize the pressure and create an escape route. Most electrical systems can function for some time while the vehicle is sinking.
  • If the windows will not open, allow the vehicle to fill up enough to equalize the pressure and press against a door and open it. Try another one if necessary.
  • Consider purchasing safety tools that can be kept in a vehicle. Used like a hammer, a center punch can break windows under water. There are also seat belt cutters that consist of a razor blade in a plastic sheath. Some combine a center punch and a seat belt cutter in one accessible tool.

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post where we will tell you what to do if you witness another vehicle sinking.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation.


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