WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - Just days after flooded roads took the life of a father and daughter, we sat down with Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens as he explains what to do if your car ends up in water.
Stephens says that your rule of thumb should always be “turn around, don't drown”. However sometimes that's easier said than done, as in the case of the most recent accident, where road conditions are foggy or dark.
So if you do end up in high water in your car, Stephens says first you should brace for impact. They normally advise to keep your hands at ten and two on the steering wheel, but in these situations he says three and nine is better.
Once you've hit the water, your car will float for 30 seconds to a minute, and Stephens says how you spend that time is crucial.
"Don't try to use your cell phone to call 911. You need those extra seconds to get out of the car.”
First you should unbuckle your seat belt. Next he says to open the windows; however power to the electric windows may have stopped, so Stephens suggests keeping a hammer in the glove compartment to break your window.
Once you're unbuckled and the window is open, he says to get your kids unbuckled and have them help each other. At that point, the best exit strategy is through the window.
“Sometimes the vehicle can be upside down, it can roll over in the water you might get disoriented so depending on how deep the water is you always want to swim towards the light, if its daylight or where the bubbles are. Where you see the bubbles going, that's where the 'up' is to get back to the air."
Once you evacuate Stephens says you may still be in trouble if you're in a flowing current. If you're being swept away he advises trying to grab on to anything you can like a vine or tree.