Escaping a Submerged Vehicle

resqme™ emergency safety tool

Never drive through water! It only takes a few inches of water to sweep a vehicle off the road.

Always keep at least one resqme™ window breaker/seat belt cutter tool in your vehicle in an easy to reach location securely fastened using a zip tie or on your keys if you have a keyed ignition. (order tools here) We recommend zip tying a tool within reach of each passenger seat so each passenger can get themselves out if needed. During a vehicle submersion, you have only 1 minute to escape.

Talk to your children and family members about exactly what to do if your vehicle ends up in a body of water and review the topic regularly. Remember, if your vehicle begins to submerge in water, you have 1 minute to escape before the water pressure becomes too great.

Steps to survive if your vehicle goes into water:

DO NOT panic. DO NOT touch your cell phone. DO NOT open the door, this will cause water to rush into the car.

     #1 – SEAT BELTS OFF or CUT

     #2 – WINDOW OPEN or BREAK bottom corner, move children to window with you

     #3 – OUT through window (children oldest to youngest)


Window-breaking tools do NOT work on laminated glass, they only work on tempered glass.

Each window in your vehicle should have a sticker indicating what type of glass.  In emergency situations, you may not be able to recall. Even if your car has laminated glass on the front passenger windows, it is likely that it has tempered glass on the back seat passenger windows. Be prepared. Know what windows have tempered glass in your vehicle and mark them with a special sticker. More resources below.

AAA’s list of vehicles that have laminated glass windows on doors.

Trey Kidwell

Trey Kidwell was 17-years-old when him and a friend crashed into water in his vehicle and drowned because they were unable to escape. Trey was a competitive swimmer and would have survived had he known to follow the 3 step process above. Please read and share Trey’s story and make sure that you’re prepared in a vehicle submersion emergency.


*Laminated glass will crack but remain together due to the plastic layer that is baked between the two pieces of glass. Tempered glass breaks into smaller pieces so you can get out of a vehicle. Most windshields of vehicles have laminated glass because in case there is a crash it helps keeps occupants in the vehicle making a crash much more survivable.  In general, most vehicles have tempered glass in side door windows especially in the rear doors.  But, some makes and models do have laminated glass in the front driver’s and passenger door windows, back windows and the roof.