Two separate Palm Beach County car accidents ended with vehicles under water. The first accident happened in Jupiter. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue reports that a vehicle plunged into a canal on Jupiter Farms Road near 175th Road North. The driver was taken to Jupiter Medical Center, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The second vehicle submersion occurred on Yamato Road near Boca West Drive in Boca Raton. This accident happened when two cars collided. One vehicle was sent flying into a nearby lake.
Our Boca Raton car accident attorneys understand the risks that Florida motorists face from vehicle submersion in our state. According to Operation Live, vehicle submersion comes with one of the highest death rates for any type of single-car accident. We ask that you familiarize yourself with the proper safety steps to take if you find yourself in a submerging vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 250 vehicle-submersion accidents each year in which a least one person dies. The data goes on to specify that about 2 percent of these vehicle submersion accidents experience result from a rear-end accident, more than 10 had a major side crash, nearly 50 percent experienced a major frontal crash, about 15 percent didn’t involve a collision or a rollover and the remaining 23 percent were the result of a vehicle rollover and no collision. Every year, nearly 300 people die each year in these incidents.
There are three phases to vehicle submersion:
–The floating phase: This is the first 30 to 120 seconds where the vehicle typically floats. This is time that occurs before water reaches the bottom of the windows. This is the phase your vehicle’s windows can be rolled down manually or broken if necessary. You do not want to open you doors during this phase because water will rush into the vehicle quickly and cause the vehicle to sink faster.
–The sinking phase: This is the time that occurs when water rises from the bottom of your window to the very top and before the inside of the car fills up with water. During this time, air is still inside the vehicle and occupants are able to still breathe. It is very difficult to open your vehicle’s windows or the doors during this phase because the pressure of the water outside of the vehicle is so strong. As the vehicle gets filled with water, the vehicle will tilt engine down and begin to sink is a vertical position.
–The submerged phase: During this phase, the vehicle is completely filled with water and there are no air pockets left in the cab. During this time the water pressure is the same both inside and outside of the vehicle. You should try to open the doors during this phase. However, your chance of surviving the submersion is very low during this phase.
Your best time to escape a sinking vehicle is during Phase I. Unfortunately, most vehicles on our roadways have power windows and you’re going to have to use the window to get out. This may be a little difficult because most power windows will stop working when the vehicle’s battery is shorted by water contact. Since you should not open your doors at this time, your best bet is still to remain seated and belted and to break the windows.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving defective parts or recalled vehicles in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.
Two cars plunge into canals in Palm Beach County, by Wayne K. Roustan, Orlando Sentinel
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