WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) - Approximately 600 times a year a vehicle gets trapped in water. This week two Muskegon men managed to escape their submerged car after heavy rain washed away a road in Montague. We talked to the Walker Fire Department to find out how to get out alive.
What should you do if your vehicle is in water and your door won't open, your window won't go down, and your car is sinking?
"First and foremost don't panic," says Lt. Dean England of the Walker Fire Department. "Your door won't work because there is about 1,400 pounds per square inch of water pressure on the door which makes it physically impossible to open."
In the case of the Muskegon men, they had to wait for their car to fill up with water before the door could open, meaning they got down to their last breath of air before they could make their escape.
You can also try to break a window, but that is more difficult then it looks because shatterproof glass windows are quite strong. Don't try to break a windshield, instead try to break a door window.
"Try to find something hard and something metallic," says Fireman Zack Britten. "An option you have is a seatbelt clip." When you unbuckle your seatbelt, you can try use the metal clip and try to smash the window. It is best if you hit toward the frame of the window and not the center.
You can also try ripping off the rear view mirror and use the metal stem to punch out the window.
Kicking the window is also an option, but that is more difficult then it appears.
"Kicking it may work, but the problem is you have the outside pressure of the water you are fighting against as well," says Britten.
When we tried kicking out one window it didn't break, but instead we just bent the frame making it impossible to kick out.
You can try your elbow... but "why do you want to break your arm," says Britten. It is not advisable.
The Walker Fire Department suggested keeping a device called a "life hammer" in the car. It looks like a small hammer with two points. In our demonstration, it easily broke the window. You can pick it up at your local hardware store.