What To Do If You Accidentally Drive Into a Canal

As Floridians know all too well, drivers can easily find themselves in a canal, whether because they were swept in by floodwaters or the impact of another vehicle drove them into the canal. Sometimes these accidents are fatal. Back in January 2012, Harlow Harless, 56, and Diane Harless, 72 died after driving their car into the canal on Shoal Line Boulevard, north of Porpoise Street.

What should you do if this happens to you?

First and foremost, stay calm and don’t panic. If you do lose your cool, you will not be able to concentrate on what you need to do to extricate yourself and your loved ones. Here are some tips for how to escape after driving into a canal:

  • Roll down your window. You can only do this while your car’s electronic system is still working before water damages it, so acting quickly may give you an immediate escape route.
  • Do not try opening the door if partially submerged. Water pressure is pushing against the door and you will not be able to force it open. Don’t waste energy trying.
  • If you are unable escape through the window, you need to wait until your car fills with water. Once water pressure is equal inside and outside your car, you will be able to open the car door.
  • If you cannot open a door, you should break a window.  The easiest windows to break are the side windows. The front and rear windshields are made of special glass that is not easy to smash.  You should use a specially designed escape hammer, like the LifeHammer or ResQMe. This tool should be kept in an easily accessible place in your vehicle at all times.  If you do not have such an escape tool, use another object, like your shoe or keys, to break the window.

Canal crashes can result from numerous causes, some of which may be the fault of others. If you or a loved one have been in a canal crash, you should consult with an auto accident lawyer to determine how to proceed and if any damages are owed to you. Please feel free to give our firm a call.

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