A former Navy SEAL shared his most important advice if you ever find yourself trapped in a car: “if you panic, you will lose your oxygen,” he says. Staying calm is one of the basic guidelines to survive a disaster in your car. But there are a few other things to know that will provide you with the chance to survive the worst.
We made a safety guide that anyone who uses a car, as a driver or as a passenger, should read to be prepared in case danger occurs when on the road.
1. A downed power line on the car
Downed power lines are a common accident in the midst of a heavy storm. The rubber car tires act as insulation, so staying in the car will keep you safe. Stay calm and call for help.
What to do:
- If there is a fire or a severe injury and you need to leave the car open the door but don’t touch the car because there is electricity running all over it.
- If you have a rubber floor mat — most of these are made of a rubber material — place it on the ground outside as far as you think you can jump.
- Take off any long clothing you have on you before jumping. Nothing on you should touch the ground and the car at the same time or you’ll get electrocuted.
- When you are ready, do the jump with both feet close together, and land on the mat.
2. An avalanche
In case you are driving and an avalanche occurs, the most threatening part isn’t the cold and the snow, but the carbon monoxide, which can get into the car from a clogged tailpipe and will cause suffocation.
What to do:
- First of all, turn off the engine to avoid a carbon monoxide incident.
- If your car is covered, do not try to open any doors or windows. The snow will fill up the car and you won’t be able to get it out.
- Instead, stay where you are and try to keep warm. Bring your legs close to your chest and use any clothing available. The car will stay warm for a while since the snow acts as an insulator.
- Most importantly, manage your breathing. You only have oxygen for a few hours, so don’t waste it by lighting a fire or a cigarette.
- Sound the horn constantly to get noticed.
3. A tornado
A car is not the best place to be when a tornado strikes. You should get out and run as fast as possible to find a shelter or a covered structure. But there might be nothing around.
What to do:
- Drive away from the tornado’s path. Go either 90 degrees to the left or to the right. You should always be able to see the tornado in the rearview mirror.
- If it’s too late for that, lower the windows to avoid broken glass on you and get down as low as possible while still buckled in.