While driving may have some inherent risk to it – negligent or reckless drivers, bad weather, poorly maintained roads, among other risk factors – there is also a hidden danger that Florida drivers must be aware of: bodies of water. Indeed, the Sunshine State is surrounded by water on three sides and within Florida, there are numerous natural and manmade bodies of water. In fact, Florida boasts more than 30,000 lakes that cover over three million acres of land across the state. The combination of driving and water near the roadway can be deadly should an accident result in a vehicle being submerged.
Vehicle Submersion in Florida
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that hundreds of people are killed each year in traffic accident-related vehicle drownings. Additionally, more than half of vehicle drowning deaths involved a rollover crash while more than 10 percent were the result of a car crash with another vehicle. While accidental vehicle submersions can be deadly, they do not have to end in tragedy. There are several things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from death in the event your vehicle is accidentally submerged in water in Pensacola. This includes:
- Do not panic – doing so will cause you to overexert yourself, which can exhaust you, taking valuable energy you need to save yourself;
- Quickly roll down your window – do so as quickly as you can to create an escape route for yourself and your passengers because the more time passes, the higher the likelihood the water pressure will not allow the windows to open;
- Look for an air pocket – if you are unable to open a window, look for the highest point of the vehicle with the most air and stay there so you can breathe for as long as possible;
- Call 9-1-1 right away – if you are unable to escape, contact 9-1-1 and pinpoint your location if you have a smartphone to help first responders find you more quickly and likely save your life and the lives of others with you.
Avoiding Vehicle Submersion
Aside from the steps you can take in the event you are in an emergency situation due to accidental vehicle submersion in Pensacola, there are also steps you can take to try to avoid this happening in the first place. This includes:
- Never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking, or in a vehicle, if the driver has been drinking;
- Making sure to fully charge your cell phone before leaving your home so that you can contact authorities in the event of an emergency;
- Become familiar with your driving route ahead of time and learn where bodies of water are located;
- Pay extra close attention to the roads when driving in rural areas and when it is dark outside; and
- Purchase and keep an emergency window-breaking tool kit in your vehicle at all times.
Car Accident Help in Pensacola
Depending on the facts of the accident, another party may be held responsible if you or someone you know is the victim of a Pensacola, Florida vehicle submersion accident. If another driver’s recklessness or negligence caused your vehicle to go off the road and become submerged, you are likely entitled to monetary compensation. Contact Stevenson Klotz today to speak with one of our experienced Florida car accident attorneys for your initial consultation.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.