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April 18, 2024 6 mins

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/auto-safety-testing/escape-sinking-car.htm; https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/auto-glass.htm

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to brain Stuff production of iHeartRadio. Hey brain Stuff
Lauren Vogelbam here. Preparing for potential emergencies is stressful. For example,
it's really unlikely that you'll ever be in a car
accident that winds up with your vehicle being submerged in water.
For example, in the US, driving heavy country, it only

(00:25):
happens less than one thousand, five hundred times a year.
That's less than zero point zero three percent of car
accidents here. But as with all potential emergencies, having a
plan in place will help keep you calm and increase
your chances of getting yourself out. So if you drive
in areas with bodies of water or the risk of flooding,

(00:46):
it's worth going through the stressful planning process. The experts
of the American Automobile Association or Triple A a reckend
keeping in mind what they call the SURE method that
stands for stay calm, unbuckle or cut your seat belt,
roll down or break windows and exit quickly. Helping children first.

(01:08):
But let's back up a little. The problem with being
in a sinking car is that water is heavy. So
if your car is sinking, the pressure of all that
water on the outside of the car will prevent you
from opening the doors until the car's cabin fills with
water and the pressure equalizes. But you don't want to
wait for that if you don't have to, because breathing

(01:28):
is good. The best thing is to try to get
a window opens that you can escape through. There, cars
sink quickly. You may only have thirty seconds to a
minute before the water level reaches the passenger windows, so
you have to act fast. If you can roll a
window down, that's great, but it may bring you extra
piece of mind to store an emergency window breaking tool

(01:50):
in your car though. Back in twenty nineteen, the Triple
A ran a study about the different kinds of glass
being included in modern car designs and the ability of
different tools on the market to break them in case
of emergency. They overall recommend buying spring loaded style tools
because the hammer style tools they tried out sometimes broke
during the test. But their key finding was actually that

(02:12):
the type of glass your car contains matters the most. Traditionally,
car windows and rear windshields were made of tempered glass,
which is designed so that when it breaks, it shatters
into small chunks that are less likely to cut you
than normal glass shards. The type of glass in the
front windshield, meanwhile, is usually laminated glass E. Laminated glass

(02:34):
is made by sandwiching a layer of polyvinyl butterol between
two pieces of glass. The glass and the pv BE
are sealed by a series of pressure rollers and then heated.
This combination of pressure and heat chemically and mechanically bonds
the PVB to the glass. That inserted layer of polyvinyl

(02:54):
allows the glass to absorb energy during an impact and
gives the glass resistance to penetration from flying projectiles, meaning
that laminated glass can break and be punctured, but it
will stay intact because of its chemical bond with the polyvinyl.
It also deflects up to ninety five percent of ultraviolet
rays from the sun and helps deflect road noise and

(03:15):
help quiet down a vehicle's cabin, which is all great
at preventing flying objects from coming at you through the windshield.
Anyone who grew up with the Final Destination movies is
still traumatized from that and at preventing you from being
ejected out through the windshield in case of a sudden stop.
But it also means laminated glass can't be shattered by

(03:36):
escape tools, and an increasing number of new vehicles have
switched from using tempered side glass windows to laminated side
glass windows in response to federal safety standards A but
don't panic. Most new cars with laminated side windows include
one tempered side window. Stickers near the bottom of each
window should tell you what the glass is made of.

(03:58):
If there are no stickers there, you can check your
owner's manual or get in touch with the manufacturer. If
your side windows are all laminated glass, you'll know that
you'll have to roll one down as quickly as possible. Again,
it's most important to have a plan in place beforehand.
If you know you can break a window, have an
escape tool at the ready and know which window to break.

(04:18):
Just consider watching an online tutorial to familiarize yourself with
how the device works, and you can test your spring
loaded escape tool on a notepad or a piece of
spare wood. If it's working properly, you'll hear a click
and be able to see a hole or indent in
the paper or wood. Escape tools can also come in
handy in case your seat belt buckle gets jammed during
an accident. Look for tools that include a device for

(04:40):
safely and easily slicing through seat belts. You want to
get out of your seat belt before opening or breaking
a window because water can rush in very fast through
a window. Again, remember the sure method, Stay calm, unbuckle
your seat belt or cut it if it's jammed, Roll
down or break a window, and exit the vehicle quickly.

(05:00):
Helping children first, don't call nine one one until after
you've escaped, because cars again sink quickly. Time is of
the essence. If you can't get a window open, head
to the backseat of the car, where water will fill in. Last,
take a deep breath, and try to get a door
open once the pressure is equalized. It's scary to think

(05:20):
that you might need to prepare for an incident that
traps you in your car, but experts do agree that
it's better to acknowledge the possibility. If you have a
tool with an easy reach and you have some idea
of what to do, you'll save crucial seconds that could
make all the difference. Today's episode is based on the

(05:41):
article how to Escape a sinking car on how stuffworks
dot com, written by Scherise three. Whit brain Stuff is
production of by Heart Radio in partnership with how stuffworks
dot com and is produced by Tyler Klang. Four more
podcasts from my Heart Radio visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Sp

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