A local mother and her daughter escaped from a sinking vehicle before it went under water on Thursday, and experts say everyone can learn from her actions.
Carrie Mattingly lost control of her SUV on the ice and suddenly crashed through a fence and plunged into a nearby pond. With just seconds to escape, Mattingly unbuckled her seat belt and helped her daughter do the same, she also rolled down the windows and made sure the they both escaped before the car went under.
Indiana State Police Detective Robert May, who also leads the central Indiana dive team, says Mattingly’s actions are the perfect example of what you should do.
“I was excited because people do die in vehicle immersions and [the Mattingly’s] escaped while their car was on the surface,” Detective May said. “That’s exactly what I want.”
Detective May produced an instructional video in order to show drivers and passengers how to calmly and quickly get out of their cars themselves. May says the important thing for the public to know is that trying to open your door is a bad idea. Instead, he says you should roll down or break your window and get on top of your car if you can.
He says nobody should wait for rescue or call 911 from inside the sinking car.”If you make a 911 phone call while you’re still sitting in this seat and the water comes into this compartment, whether it’s in six feet of water or 100 feet of water, you will die,” Detective May said. “The only people that we can save are the people that are sitting on top of their car. If you don’t get out of the car, you will drown. You have to get out of the car.”
Detective May said you typically have nearly two minutes to get out of your car before it sinks, and getting out through a window typically takes just a couple seconds if you are prepared.
“You should rehearse this in your mind and practice if you can,” May said. There’s nothing to it.”
If your windows don’t work and you are forced to break the glass, Detective May says a survival tool with a window punch is absolutely the best item to have on your keychain. You can find them at some hardware stores, big box retailers or online.
Detective May says he also owns several similar tools made by ResQMe.