How to survive in a car submerged in snow

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

You are always at a high risk when you are driving fast and around rivers or lakes. However, if you prepare yourself well, then the chances of you surviving increase. A couple of factors such as sleep, road accidents, and slippery roads may cause your car to drift off the road and fall under water. In order to survive an accident like this, you need to follow certain steps so that you can save yourself and your family.

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It takes only 2 to 10 minutes for a car to sink if it has entered a river or a lake. Once you hit the water, try to remain in your senses and take control of everything. You will not have a lot of time to save yourself and your family.

Make sure you unlock all the doors and roll down all the windows as soon as the car hits the water. Once the water starts coming in, it will become nearly impossible for you to open anything. A door can only be opened till the water level is upto your knees. After that, opening the door will be impossible.

Make sure that the seatbelts are off as well. In case the car is submerged, removing seatbelts becomes the biggest problem. Help the children and other family members by undoing their belts and preparing them for the escape.

In case you were unable to open the doors and windows on time, simply break the side window. Kicking the glass or using the tool kit to hit it will help at this time. Always apply force to the corner of the glass and not the center. People mostly hit the center and are unable to break the glass on time.

In case this doesn’t work, then you can always escape from the trunk as well. A few cars have the option to fold the rear seats down so you can move to the trunk. Once the trunk is open, swim out.

Make sure you remove all your heavy clothing and shoes inside the vehicle.

If your car’s interior is filling up with water, make sure you take a long breath before it is full.

In case you are inside a river, the flow of the water will also block the doors. Open a door which isn’t against the water’s flow.

Every year, thousands of flood-damaged cars are put on the market after major weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms. These vehicles can put their drivers and passengers at risk due to their potentially unreliable and unsafe nature.

According to experts, any vehicle that has been submerged to its floor or higher is considered a totaled vehicle for insurance purposes. Being submerged or partially submerged damages a range of vehicle systems, including the engine, transmission and crucial electronic components.

These totaled vehicles often go through chop shops to make them appear to be in normal working condition and from there they can end up on used car lots hundreds of miles from where they were original damaged and or declared totaled.

As a car buyer, here are some tips you can use to protect yourself from flood-damaged cars.

Tip 1: Check the VIN

When looking at a used car, you should always check the VIN (vehicle identification number) and make sure that it matches with every instance of the VIN on the car and its paperwork. VIN-checking services are a great way to alert you to vehicles with flood titles or salvage titles.

However, sometimes vehicles are reconditioned and then pass inspection in another state. When that happens, it might be retitled, and the new VIN won’t match instances of the VIN located around the vehicle.

The two most common places to find the VIN are on the dashboard on the driver’s side in the corner where it meets the windshield, and also on the driver’s side doorjamb (look for a 17-character string of numbers and letters). It might also be on the engine and under the hood. Any sign of VIN tampering should be looked at with suspicion.

Tip 2: Inspect the Interior

One of the most obvious signs of a vehicle that has been submerged in water is a musty odor or signs of mildew on the interior. Investigate the interior thoroughly of any used car that you plan to purchase. Pull up floor mats and inspect the flooring for signs of mold, mildew or staining. Open the glove compartment and look for traces of mud or silt. Often you can find dirt buildup in odd places on flood-damaged cars. You might find it under the dashboard, in the seat tracks or beneath the door liner.

Other places to look include the trunk and spare tire (if there is one). A good rule of thumb is to inspect places that are hard to get to and hard to clean. Sometimes you might encounter suspicious signs of hidden damage, such as new fabric, excessive air fresheners and recently shampooed carpeting (though that last one could also be a sign of the seller simply cleaning the vehicle).

If the outside of the vehicle is a little rough, but the inside seems a little too polished, it might be a sign that water damage is being hidden. Brand new carpeting and mats in an older vehicle can be a red flag.

Tip 3: Look at the Lights

It’s fairly difficult to get rid of a key sign of water damage: the lights. On flood-damaged cars, you might see beads of moisture and fog behind the lenses. There might even be a visible waterline. So be sure to inspect all the lights on the vehicle closely.

Tip 4: Check the Wiring

Check items such as radios, interior lights, dashboard lights, blinkers, warning lights, power windows, power locks, power lift gates and anything else you see that is operated electronically. If any of these aren’t working properly, investigate the wiring by looking for rusted parts, water residue or any unusual corrosion. You can also test the electronics of the vehicle to make sure that there aren’t any odd shorts or things that inexplicably don’t work.

Tip 5: Look for Rust

Rust and corrosion are not normal in newer vehicles, or in vehicles from warm climates that don’t snow. Get underneath the vehicle and check areas around the fuel tank, brake lines and shock towers. Check the wheel wells, in between the bumper corners and the body and the roof rails. Inside, you can check for signs of rust beneath the seats, under the dashboard and instrument panel and other areas that would not normally be exposed to water. Look at exposed screws and other unpainted metal. Bare metal will almost always show light surface rust in flood-damaged cars.

Tip 6: Have a Trusted Mechanic Inspect the Vehicle

While it’s true that you could check for many of these issues yourself, a trusted mechanic can do an even better job of looking for problems. Any dealership or seller with nothing to hide won’t object to a mechanic inspection.

Are You Selling a Vehicle in a Flood Zone?

If you’re selling your vehicle and you live in a flood zone, be prepared for questions about its condition and history. You can allay buyer fears by having your vehicle inspected by a mechanic and issued a clean bill of health.

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

Another useful tool for those shopping for used cars is the NMVTIS, a database aimed at combatting title washing. Title washing is when totaled or stolen cars are retitled in other states that have different laws or regulations about title reporting. Another source of concern is when a car owner doesn’t have comprehensive insurance coverage and the vehicle gets damaged by flooding, or when the repair bill doesn’t exceed the amount to be considered salvage. This means that a salvaged title might not be issued. Only a few states have flood titles, which is when all flood damage history must be recorded.

Salvage Titles

When an insurance company declares a damaged vehicle a total loss, a salvage title is issued. The title is marked or branded either with a word, letter or number code. Reselling these cars is usually legal as long as the damage is completely disclosed. Salvage title vehicles can’t be registered again until the required repairs are made and the vehicle is inspected by official parties. The title is then declared as rebuilt and can be registered for resale or use. Be suspicious of any vehicles being sold without a title and try to avoid these at all costs.

Reality-based in spite of my best efforts

Chicagoans, please STFU about yesterday’s snowstorm. Try driving in a hilly or mountainous place first.

Example 1: Seattle, where steep hills and the occasional rare but icy snowfall do not make for a fun time driving.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

But their trip home for the holidays nearly turned tragic Friday when two charter buses carrying 80 students slid down a steep ice-covered Seattle street and crashed through a guardrail 20 feet above Interstate 5. The front wheels of one bus ended up dangling over the freeway.

“We were all screaming,” said 16-year-old Alex Hammell of Bothell, who was aboard the second bus. “I thought we were going to die.”

Example 2: Salt Lake City, and the canyons leading up to major ski resorts.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

Up Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, four-wheel drive and chains were required today. Snow was definitely sticking to the ground, which caused problems for a few drivers going through Big Cottonwood Canyon, especially.

One man overcorrected and slid off the road. A woman coming down the mountain hit an ice patch and slid off into the river. Her tipped SUV was partly submerged in the water, but both the driver and the passenger got out with only scratches.

In Utah, this kind of accident is apparently called a “slide-off,” because there’s often an edge or a ditch on one side of the highway, and if you hit an icy patch on a “look, Aunt Nibby, no guardrails” kind of road, you might go for a sudden expedition.

But if you know how to drive in snow, you can get around all right, as long as you avoid the idiots that DON’T know. Basically, SLOW DOWN. Don’t hit the brakes, gently remove your foot from the gas and gently pump the brake pedal several times. Slow to a crawl before turns and take your foot off the gas before carefully turning the wheel. If you start to slide, turn the wheel in the direction of the slide, lightly pumping the brake. Don’t even think about hitting the accelerator until you’re straightened out. Stay in other drivers’ ruts if the road hasn’t been plowed yet.

These next two suggestions aren’t exactly… legal, but in a snowstorm, sometimes, you have to do what you must to get to shelter, or to the grocery store, or to the airport to pick up a stranded friend.

If driving up a hill, keep forward momentum at all costs. Maintain all deliberate speed. If there’s no traffic at a cross street on an uphill, check for cops, say “Snow Rules” firmly to yourself, and continue through the intersection. If there’s a big pile of snow (thrown off by a plow, perhaps) at a corner and you’re turning, check for traffic and cops, mutter “Snow Rules” again, and SLOWLY make the turn without stopping. If you stop in a pile like that, you’ll never get going unless you’ve got a high-clearance, 4WD or AWD vehicle. And even that’s iffy if you gun the engine and spin your wheels. Remember – GENTLY on the gas.

If you’re driving down a hill, your car has just been entered in the All-City Luge competition. Alternatively, look for a route down that angles across the slope of the hill – a more roundabout street that takes the scenic route is going to be easier to negotiate than going straight down. In Seattle, they used to just close the steepest streets and make people take the long way, but some idiot always had to show off his new Jeep. Inevitably, they wound up at the bottom of Queen Anne Hill with their pictures in the neighborhood paper.

However, if you live in a hilly city like Portland, and your neighborhood has been laminated with an inch or so of solid ice and then taken a hit of dry, powdery snow, you’re fucked. Quit thinking about going anywhere; cities that “never get snow” like Portland and Seattle don’t have salt trucks, sand trucks, or even snow plows. You’re screwed, so you’d better grab your video camera and get to a good vantage point. You might get a good price for the footage on the evening news.

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The title of this video is a misnomer: it’s “Portland drivers in the snow” but really what’s happening is there’s a very smooth layer of ice under a light dusting of powder. I used to live in Oregon and this kind of ice storm was not uncommon; I once drove through the Portland suburbs after my flight to Eugene was rerouted there. My friend Debbie and I ended up in a carload of other college students, being driven to Eugene in exchange for gas money and body weight (ourselves and our luggage made the driver’s car more manageable because it was heavier). On the way, we inched up a hill without stopping, going around other cars that stopped dutifully at stoplights that had gotten hopelessly stuck. The driver kept calling out “Snow rules!” and maintained forward motion no matter what. We kept an eye out for other people, cars, cops, and other obstructions.

We watched helplessly as an old man, walking back from the grocery store, fell on the ice and his entire bag of oranges rolled down the hill. We couldn’t stop, or we’d have gotten stuck.

About 5 hours later, we made it back to Eugene, which was covered with about 2 inches of ice. That kind of storm seemed to come about every other year or so; we’re lucky we haven’t gotten anything like that in Chicagoland since I moved here.

Yesterday, driving to work was really no problem. I had the new snow boots, I had all kinds of winter gear, and I got an early start. Fortunately, there weren’t many other people on the road, and the few that were out and about seemed to know how to drive prudently. I made it in about half an hour early. The whole rest of the day, people were whining about how bad it was. Granted, I don’t live that far away, but still: STFU! It could be worse, you could live someplace that isn’t flat!

You can use this quick and simple cold-water survival time calculator to approximate how long someone can survive in very cold water. This online calculator computes the anticipated survival time using methods that were presented in the Xu & Giesbrecht and Hayward studies. Simply input the temperature of the water and click on the “Calculate” link to generate an estimation of how long a typical person can survive in extremely cold water.

The Impact of Cold Water on the Human Body

How to survive in a car submerged in snowCold air extracts heat from the surface of the human body 25 times faster than that carried away by air that is of the same temperature. As such, when someone is immersed in cold water, he or she immediately starts to lose critical body heat to the external environment. Initially, the body may attempt to generate its own heat by shivering. However, this is insufficient to counteract the heat that is lost in the water. Depending on the temperature of the water, within 20-30 minutes of being immersed in cold water, the core temperature of the human body will fall below 35°C (95°F). At this point, judgment and cognitive functioning will start to fail. The individual who has been exposed to cold water will become increasingly disorientated, will fall unconscious, and will eventually die.

Xu & Giesbrecht (2018) based their proposed calculation of 122 cases reported in the UK National Immersion Incident Survey. Using this data, they presented Equation 2 as a means of estimating survival time in cold water.

Survival Time (hours) = 0.0547 × (water temperature in °C) 2 + 0.5048 × (water temperature in °C) + 1.3604 (2)

The calculation of survival time employed in this online calculator varies according to the water temperature in which the person is submerged. If the temperature is greater than zero, Equation 1 is applied. If the temperature is zero or below, Equation 2 is applied.

The end of the world has been predicted for thousands of years as religious texts, political leaders and artists have envisiged the end of days.

It is written in the Bible that ‘Judgement Day’ will one day arrive and all of humanity will either go to heaven or hell and in the 1960’s, it seemed that the world was on the edge of nuclear annihilation when the former USSR and the USA fought a cold war for global supremacy.

Such extreme visions of the future have, luckily for us, never come to fruition, however, if they were to come true and we were plunged into an apocalyptic nightmare, you would need one hell of a vehicle to survive….

Check out seven cars that exist today (with a few WhoCanFixMyCar modifications) which could help you survive the end of the world.

The Marauder

The apocalypse has arrived; buildings lie in ruins and there’s no telling who’s a friend or enemy. You need something to keep you safe and secure – the armoured Marauder to be precise.

With its ability to carry loads of up to 4,500kg, accommodate 10 people and withstand bullets, mines and other explosives, this is the vehicle that will get you where you need to be… and get you there in one piece. It can also be fitted with night-vision devices to help you navigate in the darkness, and can reach a respectable 74mph.

Cadillac One (aka “The Beast”)

Just because the world has ended, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel in style. And even the post-apocalyptic world needs a leader, so if you think you can handle the job get hold of ‘The Beast’, or Cadillac One.

Made for the President of the United States, this luxury limousine has bomb-proof steel plating, bulletproof glass, Kevlar-reinforced tyres and, just in case anything does get through all that, has the capacity to hold a stock of your blood in the boot. To top it off, it has night-vision cameras, and can also suppress fire and withstand chemical attacks.

Toyota Hilux 1988

If films and TV shows have taught us anything, it’s that the end of the world will be full of destruction; pitfalls, hostile characters and inhospitable environments and unpredictable events. Shame there’s nothing indestructible out there… or is there? Well, actually, yes.

The inoffensive, humble 1988 Toyota Hilux can and has survived the worst life can throw at it. It’s been submerged in the ocean, crashed into a tree, set on fire and placed on top of a tower block which was then demolished as shown on Top Gear which you can watch here. Plus, this farmer’s favourite is a pickup truck, so has the added benefit of being able to carry goods or people in the back.

Land Rover Defender

You need to travel the mountains, deserts and crumbling ruined cities in search of fuel, food and water, and most cars have simply keeled over and died on the roadside.

But not the Land Rover Defender; the iconic motor is so simple and durable, and a whopping 75% of all the Land Rovers produced since 1948 are still on the road. Plus, they can be adapted into almost anything you can think of – tow trucks, military transport vehicles, mobile ambulances, caterpillar vehicles, fire engines, snow ploughs and rural police cars.

Oshkosh Wheeled Tanker

Water and fuel are scarce now that society has broken down, and what better way to survive and have a powerful bargaining tool than owning a tank full of the good stuff.

The Oshkosh Wheeled Tanker can carry 20,000 litres of fuel or 18,000 litres of water, is armoured to protect you, and the off-road tyres mean you can take it anywhere. It also shares common parts with other vehicles, so it should be fairly easy to repair and keep on the road too.

Action Mobil Desert Challenger

Your home has been destroyed, or taken over by dangerous vagrants. Instead of fighting back, take to the road with the Action Mobil Desert Challenger, an 8-wheeled, 4-axeled, 30-ton motorhome, built to travel wherever you might want to go.

With its own oriental-furnished living room, kitchen with stainless steel units, walk-in fridge, on-board electricity supply, shower and washing machine, you won’t think twice about your old residence. Plus, it can hold 660 gallons of petrol, so you rarely need to step foot on earth for a long while.

Bugatti Chiron

Zombies are everywhere, and they’re not the slow ones you remember from TV. You need to get away, and fast. Luckily, you own the 261 mph, 1,479bhp Bugatti Chiron.

This car has taken the award for fastest car and has super acceleration power; reaching 186 mph in 13.6 seconds, and its four-wheel-drive gives you an advantage on the crumbling roads. Nothing will get you away from impending doom quicker.

Yes, the apocalypse has happened, but it’s not the end of the world is it? Well perhaps it is, but with these vehicles you needn’t go down with the rest of society. Whatever the situation out there, there’s a car that’s going to help you survive and prosper.

Action Mobil. (2016). Desert Challenger.
British Army. (2016). Close support tanker.
Gerard, J. (2010). Classic Land Rover.
Gillespie, T. (2015). World’s most unstoppable vehicle.
Hill, J. (2016). The 3 most luxurious RVs ever made.
Neiger. C. (2015). What is the world’s toughest car?.
Oshkosh Defense. (2016). Wheeled tanker.
Paramount Group. (2016). Marauder.
The Telegraph. (2016). Top 10 bizarre Land Rovers.
Turner, C. & Rix, J. (2016). All hail the new Chiron.
Wattles, J. (2016). Bugatti Chiron.
Winsor, M. (2015). ‘The Beast’ to protect President from Al-Shabab.

Check out the full infographic below, including more information on why we chose these 7 vehicles to survive the end of the world:

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From the flooding in Texas a while back, to the volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, natural disasters threaten our cars from every angle. While everyone else is hurriedly rushing to the basement for shelter, or climbing on the roof to await helicopter evacuation, car guys are sobbing in the garage as they say a final farewell to their beloved automobiles. Hell, you don’t even have to be a car guy to suffer from the strife associated with knowing that those freshly detailed leather seats are about to get engulfed in flames.

So what are you to do when Mother Nature comes a calling, with Poseidon and Vulcan hot on her heels? Common sense tells you to get the hell out of town, but avoiding something like a tornado or a flash flood is easier said than done. In situations like that, car owners have to rely on instinct and whatever cheats they already have in place, and then just hope for the best.

Naturally, a garage is always a great place to start, but a roof and a rickety door aren’t going to protect that ride from every form of environmental malady. You need a special set-up, uniquely tailored around the kind of natural disaster your region of the world encounters.

In order to get the bottom of what works best we turned to the guys over at Hagerty, who specialize in protecting collector cars. The transit and insurance specialist says that drivers should first decide what kind of car shelter will best fit their budget, and whether it is best to keep your car in a remote location. Remember, there is no guaranteed way of protecting a vehicle from the wrath of the gods, you just hope that you can lessen the brunt of their blows with the following six cheats.

1. Tornadoes and High Winds

2. Wildfire

3. Volcanic Ash

4. Hurricanes and Floods

5. Hail and Ice Storms

Fox News reports that The Highway Loss Data Institute estimates the average claim for hail related damage is over $3,000, and figures at the time showed that nearly $800 million in claims were paid out in 2011. Fortunately, there is something called The Hail Protector, which is designed to both protect your vehicle and turn it into the world’s largest meatloaf at the same time. This revolutionary device runs on batteries, AC power, or a lighter socket, and comes with an app that sends you a warning when the local weather service detects a possible hailstorm approaching.

6. Earthquakes

There isn’t a whole lot one can do to prevent their car from being swallowed-up by a bottomless abyss. But for industrious car owners with small convertibles, a shipping container can serve nicely as an “automotive panic room” during earth-shaking experiences.

These massive metal containers can cost anywhere from a few grand to tens of thousands of dollars, and once modified are a great way to keep that classic from getting crushed. Once interior tie-down locations are located or welded in, park the soft top inside and hook the set of tightly stretched, heavy-duty tow straps to all four undersides of the car to prevent it from crashing around inside. It also wouldn’t hurt to install heavy-duty integrated locks on the doors in order to keep looters at bay. Just be sure to check your local zoning laws before buying one of these metal boxes, as it is against code to have shipping containers in residential areas for extended periods of time in certain municipalities.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

Winter weather can dramatically alter road conditions, bringing unique (and sometimes dangerous) challenges. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, it’s best to mitigate the risks by making sure you pack the right equipment.

Winter will soon be arriving which means rain, snow, ice, slick roads, and everything in between. Holiday travel can be hazardous when Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate, but adequate preparation can minimize the risks associated with driving in winter conditions. Our staff at Bestcovery has compiled a list of must-haves to help you safely make the trek over the river and through the woods to visit grandma for the holidays.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow


Forward visibility is essential when driving in inclement weather, and your vehicle’s windshield wipers are one of the only components that can help maintain a clear view. Unfortunately, worn-out wipers are usually detected when they start streaking right when they’re needed the most. It’s best to replace them before they let you down this winter, and we’ve compiled a list of the best replacement windshield wipers for your convenience. Our top pick, the Rain-X Latitude Premium Graphite Coated Wiper Blades, are a great all-around choice that won’t break the bank.

Window Treatment

Wiper blades will keep your windshield clean, but what about your mirrors and the rest of your windows? Rain-X produces our top pick for replacement windshield wipers, but they’re much better-known for their window treatment chemicals. The hydrophobic formula clings to the glass and will make water bead off on contact, improving visibility in rain, snow, and sleet. Apply Rain-X window treatment to all exterior windows to ensure ultimate visibility.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

Winter Tires

If you plan on driving in areas that get real winter conditions such as ice and snow, we strongly recommend fitting your vehicle with winter tires. All-season tires are a good compromise for most seasons, but very few of them can deliver a safe level of traction when snow and slush builds up on the roads. If you’ve never used winter tires before, they’re a revelation when the temperature plummets and frozen roads are a real possibility. No tire can offer perfect grip in all conditions, but dedicated winter tires like the Michelin X-Ice can just about eliminate white-knuckle traction loss from unpredictable road conditions. The difference in performance between an all-season tire and a winter tire is so profound that even 2WD vehicles fitted with winter tires will outperform AWD/4WD vehicles equipped with all-season tires in winter conditions.

While it’s definitely annoying to have to deal with two sets of tires for a single car or truck, the silver lining is that each set of tires will last twice as long since they’ll alternate based on the seasons.

Note: It may be tempting to keep the winter tires installed on your vehicle year-round, but we strongly recommend against it. The pliable compound that allows the tires to provide traction in freezing conditions will wear out at an accelerated rate when driven in warmer weather, and will quickly render the tires useless in any environment.

Tire Chains

For weekend getaways or quick jaunts up the mountain to hit the slopes, winter tires might be overkill. In this case, tire chains are the next best temporary solution until you’re away from winter conditions. Keep in mind that it’s illegal in many jurisdictions to drive on tire chains unless certain stretches of roads have been designated or approved, such as a snow-packed mountain pass on the way to your favorite ski resort. We have compiled a list of the best tire chains if you would like to learn more about our top picks. Our favorite is the Thule/Konig CG9. It may be a little more expensive, but ease of installation and materials to protect your alloy wheels ranks it the highest on our list. When it’s well below freezing outside, the ability to quickly install chains suddenly becomes important.

Emergency Equipment

Whether it’s to install chains or perform a quick roadside repair, we always recommend putting on a good set of work gloves. One of the best gloves out there are the Mechanix Original Covert Glove. It’s form-fitting with a single-layer palm for extra dexterity, so you can do what you need to do and get back on the road as soon as possible.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

Any time you’re stopped at the side of the road, it’s absolutely crucial to alert other motorists to your presence. Road flares are one of the simplest and easiest ways to signal that you’re stopped, and technology has enabled drivers to move away from the old pyrotechnic kind in favor of bright LED lights. The best of the bunch are bright enough to be seen in the worst weather conditions, and are shatterproof, rainproof, and can even float when submerged. Our recommendation is the Gear Gurus LED Road Flares Kit; they’re powered by three AAA batteries and are compact enough to bring multiple units without taking up valuable luggage space.

How to survive in a car submerged in snow

Since there’s no guarantee that roadside emergencies will happen only during the day, make sure you have lighting options available. Flashlights are an obvious choice, but the downside is that they require a hand (either yours or a helper) to steady the beam. Headlamps are a great alternative, since the light follows your direct line of sight and keeps your hands free for other tasks. Foxelli offers a pair of headlamps that we highly recommend – the Rechargeable model and the standard battery-powered model. The former is charged using a regular micro USB cable and provides up to 40 hours of light from a single charge, while the latter uses 3 AAA batteries as the power source. They’re available in a wide range of colors, but we recommend picking a bright, high-visibility color such as Neon Yellow to make sure other motorists see you. Both models are rated IPX5 waterproof, meaning they’ll survive if exposed to rain. These headlamps comfortable to wear for hours on end, and are durable enough to withstand rough treatment for years. Best of all, they’re very affordable and widely available.

Preparation is key when it comes to safe winter driving, and there’s really no such thing as being too prepared for extreme conditions. Be safe out there, and more importantly, have fun during this winter season! For additional equipment in the event of a breakdown our guides on the best battery jump starter, replacement headlights, jumper cables and anti-freeze.

On Friday night, Morgan Lake lived through many drivers’ nightmare: She found herself plummeting about 27 feet off the edge of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge into the water below. And the 22-year-old student managed a feat that pilots and military personnel take hours of specialized training to perfect: She escaped from her sinking car, swam to safety and survived.

Ken Burton, president of Panama City, Fla.-based Stark Survival, has guided helicopter operators worldwide through his $2,295 underwater-egress class. Lake had no practice in the art of escaping from a vehicle, Burton said, but she got lucky.

“There are people who just have dumb luck,” he said. “God was sitting on their right shoulders, so they get out, even without the knowledge, and that is so fortunate.”

Burton, who was certified as an Air Force instructor, said he has trained corporate and government helicopter operators.

For those who might find themselves underwater in their cars, Burton offered this advice:

●Open the window as fast as possible — before you hit the water, if you can, or immediately afterward.

●Stay still, with your seat belt on, until the water in the car goes up to your chin. Then take several slow, deep breaths and hold one.

●Do not try to open the door until the water has stopped flooding into the car. Initially, the water outside will put pressure on the door of up to 600 pounds a square inch, meaning you won’t be able to open it from the inside. The pressure inside and outside the car should equalize about the time you start holding your breath.

●If you can’t open a door and you’re trying to break a window instead, aim for a side window, never the windshield. Windshields are several layers thicker.

●Don’t take off your seat belt until you have opened a door or window. Grip the steering wheel before you unbuckle. You’ll need something keeping you tethered so that you can pull yourself out of the car.

●Once you’re out of the vehicle, let your body take you to the surface. As Burton put it: “Don’t worry about going up or down. When you take all those deep breaths and hold it, it’s like you’re inflating a balloon.”

All of that, Burton said, should take about 30 seconds.