Locking or not car doors, which is safer.

If, as is not an uncommon occurence in a land with more coastline than anything, I were to drive my car into the sea, a lake or a river, would it not be much more safe to have the doors unlocked? In modern, electrically operated windows and door lock, cars, I’d think getting trapped in a sinking car would be the result if you plummeted in with the door locks engaged. Can’t open the windows, after all, and if the door lock mechanism is shorted, you’d probably not be able to unlock the door after the car has been submerged… Especially in cars withouth that little manual unlock tap.

Well, we’ve had some ironic username/post content combos – but you pave new ground, with a car name/post content twist to it! :slight_smile:

I never understood how some people think you can be “thrown clear” from an accident. It involves smashing through a sheet of hard glass with your body (usually your head). How is this possibly better than remaining inside the car?

For those of you concerned about being trapped in a car as it is submersed in water and shorting the door locks/windows, they make tools for that. It’a portable escape tool specifically for breaking auto windows. They now come in keychain size. They typically come combined with a cutter to use on the seat belt if it jams.

There’s really no such thing as being thrown clear. Like Nemo says, people get thrown through the windshield.Even if you were somehow thrown through an open door, best case scenario is that you get thrown onto the street. Ow. Where I work any ejection from a vehicle requires a trip to a Level I Trauma Center.

St. Urho

You can’t open the doors, due to water pressure.

I might not be contradicting you–I’m unclear as to what exactly you’re saying–but you can open the door once you’re submerged. Just open the windows, let the water rush in, and you’ll be able to open the door once you’re under water and the pressures are equalized.

After you are fully submerged and there’s no air left in the car, sure. Of course, by then you will have panicked and be dead. Don’t try this at home, kiddies.

If you can keep your cool, this is one of the ways to survive a car being submerged underwater. The more common way is to open the window and work your way through that.

Is it really all that common? I mean, compared to run of the mill collisions that happen every day? California has lots of coastline, and after living in this state for over 25 years I can recall less than ten incidents in which a car was driven into deep water, drowning the occupant(s).

Hmm, my WAG here is that a locked door would prevent someone outside from helping you in an accident.

Unless they have a golf club :slight_smile:

Wasn’t there a case recently of a car being submerged and the occupants couldn’t get out because the windows were electric and the electric system had shorted out?

Nah, probably not :slight_smile: But a few times a year at least… Only last week a couple went into the drink when they tried driving onto a ferry that had left the pier, and the car fell into the sea. They got out, but the state of the door locks remain unreported…

If you drive off a pier onto a ferry that isn’t there, you got bigger problems than your door locks.

Confirmation bias, perhaps, but when I lived in South Florida, this was a weekly occurrence. Canals lined many, many streets. The demographics of the area also led to a lot of elderly folks finding untimely watery graves.

My car has “speed sensitive locks” also. The owner’s manual says they lock for safety.

My buddy has a car (Saab I think) where the owner’s manual specifically states that you should not lock the doors for safety.

It was common enough in the Netherlands that there was a driving school there east of Amsterdam that taught you how to deal with the situation. Basically, they put you in a car with an instructor and dumped you in a dark pool of water. The method they taught was: detach safety belt, open windows, turn on headlights [apparently, the electrics will survive long enough to help a potential rescue crew locate you, if you’re not dead by that time], take a deep breath, sink, open door once fully pressurized, swim to safety.

edit: Looks like they have the story we did archived here, for those interested in further reading.

Here’s the relevant text as to the method:

Oh, and further info from the above site about the statistics of underwater driving:

So, in the Netherlands, at least, we’re looking at 4.25 vehicles per day in the water.

One tool I’ve seen is the common, spring-loaded nailset. It should be able to break or at least crack a side window (not a windshield, which is safety glass).

Haven’t tried it, or had the need to.

I remember a comedian talking about this once, on Johnny Carson I think.

“My grandpa didn’t like seatbelts, he said that in an accident he’d like to be ‘thrown clear’. Maybe instead of a beeper, seatbelt warnings should just slam the seat forward so you hit your forehead on the windshield - just to remind you how hard it is… Have you ever noticed in an airplane, where seatbelts are totally useless, everyone does them up? Nobody says that if they are in an airplane crash they want to be ‘thrown clear…’”