Grandfather and his dog are found dead after getting locked inside his Corvette ‘dream car’ by a dead battery in 90F heat, while in a crowded restaurant parking lot. He had left his phone inside the restaurant, and of course the horn did not work because the battery was not operational due to a loose cable.
Tragedy strikes a family, and what a horrific ending to it all. The family will anguish over the how and why forever, while others debate just how something like could have happened. Just how someone can be locked inside his or her own vehicle in a busy parking lot, and then succumb to the heat, is a question many will wonder about for years to come.
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In many cars if the battery is dead and you are inside the car simply pulling the door handle to open the door overrides the electric locks. However, with some vehicles this is not the case. You would have to know where the manual override is to unlock the doors.
You can get locked inside of your own car if you cannot override the electric locks by simply pulling on the handle. Many foreign cars have a separate handle that must be pulled. Corvettes apparently have an emergency handle on the floorboard that will force open the doors if the electronics fail. The location is noted in the owner’s manual.
First, read your owner’s manual, and if there is a manual override find it, and while you are at it, find where the emergency latch in the trunk is located, so if you are ever locked in there you can escape. Make sure your children know the dangers of vehicle trunks, and show them where the emergency latch is that opens the trunk from the inside.
A physically fit person may be able to maneuver around so they can kick the glass out, but no one should count on this method working. If you are in an accident you may very well be physically impaired, or the damaged to the vehicle may be such that you cannot get into a suitable position to kick the glass out.
Okay so you have no idea where the manual override is, so what is your next move. Today’s safety glass is difficult if not impossible to break with just your hands. If you simply have no tools that could smash the window you can pull the safety belt out enough to use the metal end that snaps into the buckle.
Wrap your hand with your shirt or other material to protect it, and then grasp the buckle and close your hand to form a fist. Act as if you are banging on a door with your fist with the metal protruding. Do not hit with the knuckles and make sure the metal strikes the glass.
The pommel of any knife could probably break the glass and some knives have a so-called glass breaker built into the pommel. You can purchase tools specifically for breaking vehicle window glass, and many of the tools would have a seat belt cutter attached as well. If your vehicle ends up in a lake or pond you may need to cut yourself from the seat belt and then smash the window to escape.
Plan for It
Be prepared to have something like this happen. The victim in the story above did not have his cell phone with him and the horn did not work. What is troubling is that he was in a busy parking lot, and apparently someone tried to help him, someone from outside the vehicle. The entire event raises so many questions. One is how a person, an adult, one that can physically function can be trapped inside a car in a busy parking lot long enough to die from heat exhaustion.
These are questions for another day however. For now the focus is on how you can prevent this from happening to you or a loved one. If you do not have a tool in your vehicle that can smash the glass effectively find one now, even if it is nothing more than a hammer. Put it under the seat or in the glove box. Later you can purchase a tool that may be more compact with a belt cutter attached that fits in the center console within easy reach. Heavy shears or some type of nylon web cutting tool should be in the vehicle as well, so you can cut away the seat belt (s).
You do not need any gimmick tools, just something heavy enough that can smash the glass without injuring your hands and something that can be used by anyone to cut the seat belt and smash the glass.