Thursday, June 11, 2015

Don't Let Your Vehicle Be a Death Trap in an Emergency

Today on the forum for CheapRVLiving a moderator posted an article about a 72-year-old man and his dog dying in his hot car. The battery had died and he could not get the door locks nor windows to open. 

This was a very odd situation indeed, but it prompted me to recall what I know about escaping a vehicle in an emergency. (I'm not an expert, but I try remember what studies have shown and have a plan in mind for the unexpected.)

A very handy thing to remember when you are in almost any vehicle is that most headrests can be released and pulled from the seat back. One or both of the long metal rods can be used to create a concentrated point of impact on a car window and break it. Then use the headrest to clear away the shards of glass around the window. Aim for the center of the window if you are going to use a pointed object to batter it. 

If a car has integrated seat headrests, obviously another object would need to be found to do the job. Perhaps an umbrella, screwdriver, small hammer, or even the corner of your laptop.

What if your vehicle has left the roadway and is sinking in water or a crash has disabled your seat belt release and you need to get out fast? There are compact emergency tools such as  
that can both cut through seatbelt webbing with a razor and shatter a window with a steel point. It's a good prepping tool to have near enough to the driver's seat to grab in case of emergency. One good place to keep it is the driver's door pocket.

If the person trapped in a car does not have a disability that prevents it, another option is to turn sideways and lean back, put heels against the window and then give a sharp kick to break it. If kicking with your feet, aim for the front section of window, toward the hinges instead of the center of the window.