The most important thing is to stay calm’

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says there were 230 cases of in-vehicle drowning at inland water sites between 1989 and 2003. This figure is 6.4 per cent of the total number of drowning deaths in rivers, canals and lakes and is almost as

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says there were 230 cases of in-vehicle drowning at inland water sites between 1989 and 2003.

This figure is 6.4 per cent of the total number of drowning deaths in rivers, canals and lakes and is almost as many as those who have drowned as a result of boating and canoeing accidents.

RoSPA's advice if you land in water is:

* The most important thing is to stay calm.

* In most water crashes, a vehicle will float for a period of time before the weight of the engine pulls the vehicle under. This should allow the driver enough time to follow the procedures calmly to get out alive.

* The first thing to do after impact is unbuckle your seatbelt. Try to keep everyone's head above the water level as it starts to rise.

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* Try to open a window before the car sinks. The water will pour in but you have to equalise the pressure on the doors before you will be able to open them.

* Blow bubbles to indicate the direction of the surface water.

* If you are with a child, get them out of their car seat and push them through the window or door. Then get out yourself and follow them to the surface.

* Try to hold hands to form a human chain.

* Even if you are in a soft-topped car or a car with a sun roof, you should still try to get out through the doors, not the roof. You might waste valuable time wrestling with clips or find the space too small to wriggle through.

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