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Survival Skills

How to escape from a sinking vehicle

Never under estimate the power of running water, particularly after heavy rains.
How to escape from a sinking vehicle

Never under estimate the power of  flowing water, particularly after a heavy rainfall.

I’ve been watching the weather channel recently, and noticed a lot of flash flooding in the aftermath of heavy rains and severe storms. If there isn’t enough to worry about in those areas, you also need to be concerned about drowning – in your car.

About 400 people die every year in the U.S. from drowning in their vehicles, according to the National Highway and Transportation Administration. This frequently happens after the car is swept off a road by rising water.

The best bet and rule of thumb, the highway and transportation people claim, is to turn around when you see water running over the road. A vehicle can be swept off a road with less than 12 inches of  water, depending on the size and clearance of the vehicle and velocity of the stream.

But suppose, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in a vehicle that is about to sink in deep water?

Here is one way from “The Art of Manliness” to escape from a sinking car.

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Survival Skills

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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