How effective is an emergency hammer?


To increase one’s chances of surviving a submerged vehicle crash, a speedy exit through the window is paramount. An emergency hammer may be used to break the window and/or cut the seatbelts. Several versions of emergency hammers are now available, such as ResQME of Lifehammer Evolution, which require less effort to break a car window. It is unknown to what extent vehicle occupants are able to reach safety by using these hammers effectively in a stressful emergency. What is clear, however, is that it is often impossible to open the car door because of the water pressure outside the vehicle. In 2008, research by the Dutch national road authority showed that, in a submerging vehicle, there is a fair chance that windows and doors cannot be opened since the water adversely affects the often electronically operated windows and door locks [15]. Particularly car models equipped with an intelligent system such as a ‘CAN-bus’ are thus affected. There are no indications that this has changed fundamentally since the 2008 study.

Part of fact sheet

Submerged vehicle crashes

In the Netherlands, on average, more than 50 people die every year in a submerged vehicle crash. More than two thirds die from drowning.

Deze factsheet gebruiken?