How to Open a Car Door Underwater


Timing is key when attempting to open a car door underwater. Choosing the right time to attempt to open the door can be the difference between life and death should your vehicle wind up in a body of water. The main component to consider is pressure caused by the car being submerged. Once too much pressure from the water acts upon the vehicle, it will be impossible to open. The two times it is possible is before the vehicle body is completely submerged, and when the vehicle's cabin is submerged, at which point pressure will equalize.

  • Roll down a car window as soon as your vehicle hits the water, if possible. This will alleviate pressure after initial contact is made, preventing it from building around the car. As water rushes into the cabin, open your drivers door and escape to safety.

  • Wait patiently in the cabin if the car is already too submerged to open a window or door. Water will eventually begin seeping into the cabin, which is a good thing for the sake of survival.

  • Remain calm and take breaths sparingly. Your oxygen is contained to the size of your vehicle's cabin, and it might take a while for you to escape.

  • Allow the water in the cabin to rise to about chest level, so that water pressure builds within the vehicle.

  • Open the car door once pressure has built enough. Quickly move out of the way of the vehicle, and swim to safety.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your car window won't roll down, you can use a sharp metal object, such as an emergency window hammer or a spring-loaded window punch, to break the window and speed up the time it takes to allow the water to enter the car.

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  • Photo Credit Le Club Symphonie/Ian Nolan/Photodisc/Getty Images
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