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.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A Clear Pattern of Vehicle Submersion Fatalities
Cars go into the water over ten thousand times a year. Like the person in this story, http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/local/hillsborough/driver-escapes-submerged-car-08242010 most are not seriously injured in the accident itself. The structure of the vehicle along with the deceleration characteristics that a vehicle experiences upon entering the water protects the majority of occupants of vehicles that end up in the water. Also like this person, most people are able to escape their vehicles once they go into the water. All-in-all, this proves to be a very survivable type of accident based on the total number of incidences recorded a year. Unfortunately, about 300 people die in vehicle immersion accidents every year. The shame is that there has been a viable solution for more than a decade. NHTSA has been repeatedly presented with a cheap, easy to use and reasonable method to significantly mitigate the danger of vehicle immersion drowning. Despite their clear duty under Title 49 of the U.S. Code, they have failed to act for over a decade. In 2001 they did mandate a tool to escape a trunk should entrapment occur in the boot of a car with FMVSS401. This set a precedence relating to entrapment scenarios but in the years since that action, they have not effectively addressed the passenger cabin entrapment issue.
A Clear Pattern
The principal reason that people die trapped in their vehicles is not serious injury as a result of the crash. It is not an inability to swim. A large majority of the people that die were not drinking. The primary circumstances that lead to fatalities in vehicle submersion accidents are as follows; COMPLETE VEHICLE SUBMERSION combined with NO WAY OUT OF THE VEHICLE. In cars in which part of the passenger cabin remains above the water line most people survive. Cars where people get the windows down or broken survive. Vehicles that are completely submerged while simultaneously completely sealed up with the doors and windows shut end in fatality the vast majority of the time. For people that can not get out and are trapped in vehicles that fully submerge, the end result is nearly always death.
Problems People Face
Bystanders and rescue professionals are seldom able to save people in these situations in time. The effort almost always becomes body recovery. The pocket of air scenario is a myth. Another culprit is BAD ADVICE. Some people advocate waiting until the car fills up touting “pressure equalization”. More times than not, this is a recipe for death. I would love to meet some survivors that used this advice successfully. Another bad instruction is killing people is waiting in the vehicle with their seatbelt on until after they have opened or broken the window. This is deadly advice. One nationally recognized guy that in the past advocated staying in the car until the pressure equalizes and now advocates staying belted has even made up his own acronym on the subject. I guarantee you that he has been responsible for people dying due to vehicle immersion drowning due to the misinformation.
Best Scenario for success
The national standard acronym and best possible solution for escaping a sinking vehicle is the POGO method. If you are ever in an accident in which the vehicle that you are riding in goes into the water, Immediately Pop your seatbelt and ensure that everyone else in the vehicle does the same. Open the window even if you have to break it. Get Out with the stronger occupants helping the others. A great thing to do here is scramble to the top of the car like a NASCAR driver. From here, it is easier to then make your way to safety. Do not pay attention to people that admonish you with all kind of useless advice that will slow you down and get you killed. I have seen a video of three Indiana State Police troopers get out of a compact vehicle in 20 seconds carrying a simulated baby. Keep it simple. Do it quickly. To this end, I have advocated modifying the standard seatbelt latchplate by adding a little nub on the leading edge for a decade. The addition of the little nub would turn the seatbelt into an effective glass breaking tool. This fills the requirement of rescue professionals across the country to keep a glass-break tool inside the vehicle. As a bonus it insures the seatbelt is off before the window is broken. (Too many people are found drowned in vehicles where the window was down but the seatbelt was still on.) This modification distributes an effective means of escape across the vehicle. We call it the Escape Tip and it is easy to find videos demonstrating its efficacy on the web. The Escape Tip modification has been 100 percent effective in our testing in breaking automobile side tempered glass in trials that we have conducted. My name is Lonny MacDougall and you can Google me for more info.
- 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 www.escapetip.com website