Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keep Calm and Live...

Heartbreaking story around here on the news the past couple of days. A lady was driving at night with her toddler in the car when "something" happened causing her to loose control of the car, crash through a fence, and plunge the car into a body of water.

The news has been kind of vague about what caused the accident that precipitated the car entering the water, but the driver was on the phone with her husband when it happened. Don't know if that had anything to do with it or not - but I imagine that being distracted while driving at night didn't help.

The driver stayed on the phone with her husband for a bit after the car hit the water and began to sink. The car had manual crank windows. Reports are that she was in a panic state. After she hung up with her husband, she then called 911 and spoke to an emergency services operator. All while the car is continuing to sink into the water while she's freaking out.

Apparently the 911 tape is so disturbing that the local news won't play it on the air.

Some bystanders attempted to save the woman and her baby by diving under the water once the car sunk below the surface, but they couldn't locate anything substantial enough to break the car windows that wasn't too heavy to swim out to the car with.

My first impulse is to be incredibly harsh with the Driver for her failure to deal effectively with the emergency.... but she's dead and her little daughter is dead and the whole mess is so sad that I'll leave my comments to these:

Manual Windows easily roll down even if the car is filling up with water and engine has died. Have a window breaker easily accessible and secured in place in whatever vehicle you drive. Lanyards are great for this. You don't want to have the thing fly out of reach where you can't find it right at the moment that you need it most. There are several good ones available and I have them in every car I own and every vehicle owned by people that I love.

Get one that has a built in safety seat belt cutter. These are useful even if you live nowhere near a body of water.

And for God's Sake if you find yourself in this situation DON'T WASTE TIME CALLING PEOPLE ON THE PHONE!!!! Not even 911. Get yourself and your kid out of the fucking car. Call someone and freak out later when you're both safe on dry land.


Stephen said...

Amen, Brother.

Six said...

Yep. I've gone into the water to rescue an elderly woman who drove into Lake El Estero many years ago. Her panic was palpable. Keeping your head in dire situations may be the single most important survival trait you can possess.

My prayers to mom, her baby and the entire family. Horrific.

Hillbilly said...

As an emergency worker I can say that a center punch will work better for popping a window. Ever tried swinging a hammer under water? I truied using one of those life hammers in the pond once just out of curiosity and I'm not sure that you could hit the glass hard enough to do anything; especially a panicking untrained lady with a kid in the car. Center punches are fairly inexpensive and a brass/alloy one will last forever. Just don't jam it in the glovebox under the spare diapers, straws, and fast food napkins. Just my two cents. Sad event all around.

Paladin said...

Hillbilly - I agree. Center punch is definitely the way to go. The tool i use is basically that.. a center punch with a built in seatbelt cutter. Its called the "ResQme". It will fit in your palm and hangs from a lanyard for easy (and secure) access. Before I found that, I kept a simple center punch from the hardware store velcro'd to the steering column.

The hammer style always seemed too bulky and awkward to use inside the vehicle.

Paladin said...

Six - Agreed completely!