Storm Safety: What You Should Do if You Get Caught in Water

Hurricane Sandy may be focused on pummeling the East Coast, but motorists further inland also need to be careful as the system moves into the interior. Staying off the roads is the safest way to avoid the storm. However, if you get caught in a flash flood or get stuck driving through the storm,'s do's and don'ts should help keep you safe when battling potentially flooded streets:


  • Stay calm. You'll need your wits about you.
  • If you get stuck in water, unbuckle your seat belt and unlock the doors.
  • Turn on your headlights and hazard lights. This will make it easier for emergency personnel to see you.
  • Take jackets and outer clothing off.
  • Lower your window. Most electric windows should work unless the car is completely submerged in water.
  • Climb out. Get to high ground.
  • If the windows won't open, you'll have to use a door to get out. You may not be able to open a door until the water pressure is equalized between the outside and the inside of the car. This means you'll have to wait for water to enter the car and fill up to about your neck level (this sounds terrifying, but this is the only way the doors will open).
  • Once the doors are open, tread water and swim to safety; call 911.


  • Do not panic.
  • If the window won't open, do not use your energy trying to open the doors because water pressure will keep them from budging (wait for the pressure to equalize).
  • Do not try to save your possessions.
  • Once out, do not stay with your car. Get to high ground.
  • Do not stand on the roof of your car. If your car is swept away, you'll be carried away with it. You also could fall and injure yourself if the car shifts abruptly.
  • Do not return to your car if you think the water level is going down. Water levels could rise without warning. Allow emergency personnel to tow your vehicle to a safe place.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 29, 2012 | Comments (1)


I heard recently that people should keep hammers in their cars. Good for busting out if the doors and windows no longer work and you're trapped in a bad situation. I have yet to do this, though, for some weird reason.

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