On Thursday May 20, 2010, Eastview High School in Apple Valley held a “demonstration” crash to show the dangers of drinking and driving. The staged crash is a real life enactment that shows the vehicles crashed with “real time” from the 911 call, police officers as the first responders, the Fire Department, the Ambulance team and the medical air lift from the scene.
The Eastview High School SADD chapter, the Apple Valley Police and Fire Departments, along with ALF ambulance service, and aaa Auto Salvage were all involved to make the “mock crash” be a real life portrayal of what can happen when drinking and driving mix. As summer time heats up and you enjoy your favorite drinks, please do not let anyone you know drive drunk! The risk to themselves and to all the other drivers and passengers on the road is not worth the risk.
Summer is a beautiful thing. Especially so when we get to start it off with an extra day off from work to enjoy barbecuing in the wonderful company of our loved ones. The good life, all but warranted to us by those who have served.
Today we remember and honor our service men and women who have given their lives so that we may live in freedom.
A friend told me a rather morbid story the other day of how a guy accidentally backed his boat and truck into the water. The situation could have ended with just an insurance claim on lost property, but the man wasn't prepared and unfortunately didn't know how to escape. With fishing opener right around the corner here in Minnesota, I thought it would be a good idea to post this guide from The Art of Manliness. Even if you don't fish or are too broke to afford a boat like me, you never know when this may come in handy given the many bridges we have in MN (over one-quarter of which are rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete).
How to Escape from a Sinking Vehicle
Stay as calm as possible. When you have gallons of water filling your car, it’s hard not to panic. But when the difference between life and death comes down to a matter of minutes, having a clear head is essential to your survival. Panic is often the reason people drown; they lose the ability to think straight and don’t know what to do. The women in the North Dakota accident called their friends on their cellphones! But panic=death. Hyperventilating and wasting your energy on ineffective actions closes off the easiest options of escape, wastes precious oxygen and shortens the amount of time you’ll be able to hold your breath when making an escape. Just concentrate on what you need to do.
Keep your seatbelt on. Survival experts all agree that you should keep your seatbelt fastened until the very last second of escape. While this may seem counter-intuitive, it actually makes a good deal of sense. Water will be rushing into your car. If you’re not anchored to your seat, there’s a good chance you’ll be pushed away from the door or window that will serve as your escape hatch. Moreover, it’s easy to get disoriented when you’re floating around in the cabin of your car. This is especially true if your car flips upside down. Finally, being anchored to your car seat can give you more leverage to break the side window than you would have if you were floating in the water.
Do not wait for the pressure to equalize! When your car starts really sinking, the differential between the pressure outside the car and inside the car makes opening the door impossible. So people are commonly told to wait until the car fills completely with water in order for the pressure inside and outside of it to equalize, at which point you will supposedly be able to open the door. But two shows, Mythbusters and Top Gear have tested this theory and found it wanting. The inside/outside pressure will eventually equalize, but it won’t happen just as soon as the car fills up with water. It takes a bit longer, so long that you’ll likely drown before it happens. It is possible if you are patient, calm, and conserve your oxygen, but don’t count on it.
Watch Top Gear test out this theory:
Get out immediately through the door! Your best chance for survival is to open the door as soon as you hit the water. You should be able to get the door open up until the point that the water has reached your waist. After that, the pressure from the water outside the car will prevent you from opening the door. Of course, if you just accidentally drove or fell into a body of water, you’re going to be somewhat in shock and disoriented. You may not have the presence of mind to open the door before the pressure becomes too great. If so, you need a Plan B.
Roll down or break a window. If you can’t get the door open, the window is your best chance for escape. If the waterline has not risen past the windows, try rolling down the window first. Contrary to popular belief, Mythbusters found that automatic windows don’t immediately short circuit underwater. But as the car sinks, the pressure of the water will prevent you from rolling them down. This is even the case with manual windows. Even if you’ve got Popeye-sized biceps, you won’t be be able to overcome the pressure and roll down the windows. You’ll probably just break the crank.
So if rolling down the window doesn’t work, you’ll need to break the side window to escape. This is actually harder than you might think as the windows are made of strong, tempered glass. While the windshield is easier to shatter, they’re designed to be unbreakable and are laminated with a plastic sheet that could keep you trapped in the car. If you’ve been doing your push-ups and pull-ups, you might be able to break the side window with your elbow or fist. Aim for the center of the window. But this is extremely difficult. The water significantly slows down the force of your movements. The Mythbusters were unable to break it with a kick from a steel-toed boot. Even if you are able to punch it through, your risk cutting up your hands on the broken glass. Remember the scene at the beginning of Karate Kid II when Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese punched through some car windows? Yeah, your hands could look like that. Wrapping your hand in something can help reduce the chance of slicing them up.
Your best option is to have some sort of device in your car at all times that allows you to easily break your windows in case of an emergency. The LifeHammer or ResQMe keychain are two tools you might want to consider keeping in your car or on your keychain. They both have a hardened steel tip that makes breaking strongly tempered windows a breeze. The LifeHammer and ResQMe keychain also have a cutting device that will cut through a seat belt if you find that you can’t unbuckle yourself. Keep them in a place that will be immediately accessible in case of an accident; you don’t want to be rummaging through your glove compartment as your car fills with water.
Escape through the window. If the waterline is still below the car window, escaping from the window will be pretty easy. If the waterline is past the window, keep in mind that as soon as you break the window, you’ll be hit with a flood of water. But you should still be able to swim out. Watch Adam from Mythbusters “break” the window and make his escape:
Escape through the door. If escaping through the window is not an option, then your last resort is to wait for the pressure differential to equalize. Try to remain as calm as possible. Don’t waste your energy and oxygen fruitlessly trying to open the door before the car is completely filled. As soon as it is, wait a few seconds more and then give it a try.
Swim to safety. Push off the car and swim to the surface. If you’re disoriented and don’t know which way is up, look for bubbles and follow the direction they’re going.
What to Do with Passengers
First, don’t open the door to make your escape. While you might be able to get out, the car will quickly fill with water and sink rapidly, possibly trapping your passengers in a watery grave. Instead, roll down or break the window.
Escaping from a sinking car is hard enough by yourself. But what if you have passengers? The first goal is to keep them calm. Take control of the situation by explaining exactly what you’re about to do. When people see there’s a plan, they’ll usually calm down. Tell them to leave their seat belts on until you’re about to make the escape. Try to make your escape from a single front window. They’re bigger than the rear passenger windows. Plus it makes it easier to ensure that everyone has left the car safely if they go through a single exit.