What to Do If Your Car Is Submerged in Water

Submerged Vehicle Wall Street Journal 03.13.2024

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

“No one is reading an owner’s manual while submerged,” said Michael Brooks, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

By Ryan Felton
March 13, 2024

The death of a 50-year-old chief executive highlights a little-discussed reality of motor-vehicle safety: Approximately 400 people die annually in North America in a submerged vehicle.

Angela Chao’s death resulted from a mistake she made with the gearshift in her Tesla SUV, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The error caused the vehicle to tip over an embankment and into a pond located on her Texas ranch’s 900 acres.

There are no federal regulations in the U.S. that require automakers to protect people inside the car during these dangerous scenarios. Here’s what you need to know if you are ever in this situation.

How much time do I have to act?

Drivers have about one minute to get out of the car before it fills with water. In those 60 seconds, it is necessary to have the clarity of mind to act decisively, said Gordon Giesbrecht, a senior scholar at the University of Manitoba who studies vehicle-submersion safety.

Click here to view the full story from The Wall Street Journal.