Escape Tip

Escape Tip is an inherently obvious automotive safety idea. The purpose of the Escape Tip is to provide all occupants of a vehicle the means to break a side window glass if needed. This technique is suggested by every credible safety expert in the field when asked how to escape a sinking vehicle. The Escape Tip is a slight modification to the standard automotive seatbelt latchplate. If made available in all new cars, death by vehicle immersion and entrapment will be significantly reduced.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Guest Opinion - Mary Kay Kidwell

My friend Mary Kay Kidwell is a tireless advocate against the danger that is vehicle immersion.  Her website is .  She recently posted the following to a forum discussing the tragic death of a Minnesota woman. 

Okay, everyone, please listen and learn. For the past two and a half years I have researched every aspect of vehicle immersion accidents. Every day I receive a Google alert, and every day I relive my grandson's tragic death; drowning is a horrible way to die.

Now my mission is to teach people how to survive. In order to provide survival information that is easy to remember and implement, we must keep it simple. And we must rely on the experiences of other victims, survivors and rescue teams. The Indiana State Police Divers know from experience what to do (please watch the video I mentioned in an earlier post: Two Minutes to Survival; it's on ). And they also know that self survival is crucial because in most cases rescuers are not instantly available (and, yes, police are taught to call for professional divers rather than risk their own lives).

Vehicles go into water in various ways, most of which involve the front of the car nosing down at an angle because of the weight of the engine. Most bodies of water are murky at best. Everyone panics. Many professional tests have been conducted to determine the most effective method; all experts agree that immediate exit via a window is vital.

Having a tool at hand, any glass-breaking tool, is much easier for victims, who range from strong youths to the physically limited to the elderly. A tool, and proper training, will save lives. The acronym POGO is easy to remember and to implement: Pop your seatbelt; Open (or break) a window; Get Out! Then climb atop the car and call for help or get to shore.

Now, it's fine to test window breaking on land, but conditions are totally different in water. In one case, a strong man was unable to break his window after applying all his might. Fortunately, he was able to pull out the lug wrench from under the seat and use that.

In my grandson's case, he made sure his passenger, who was not a strong swimmer, got out by forcing open the passenger door. Unfortunately, he did not know that by opening that door he caused the car to flood more quickly and the door to be forced shut by the strength of the water. He was a competitive swimmer, a lifeguard, a smart kid, but he could not get out of the car in time because he had not been trained in vehicle immersion survival. It was not something he, or any of us, had ever expected to encounter here in landlocked Indiana.

Please consider helping spread the important information provided in the ISP video. And if you would like to learn more about this issue, my web site is available at . Rather than speculate and debate, learn from the experts and share this knowledge with your family and friends. This kind of accident can happen anywhere, any time, to anyone. Stay safe.

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About Me

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Vehicle submersion accidents kill people nearly every day. I'm on a quest to make automobiles just a little safer. For the last decade, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic safety Administration) has been keeping extensive records as to the causes and outcomes of traffic accidents on this nation's roads. In that time, an average of 300 people have drowned each year trapped in their vehicles underwater. My friends and I want to change that by giving people a fighting chance to survive. I hope that you'll read more here and at the website