Trapped in a burning car

My friend’s wife shut off the car when she saw smoke. The mechanic found a short and said she was lucky not to have been trapped with closed windows and locked doors that wouldn’t open because of the short. Was he correct?

I would think she’d still be able to unlock the doors manually rather than relying on the electrical system to unlock them for her.

One would think that, but some anti-theft locks are flush with the doorsill.

That is true - I know that my front door locks are flush with the sill and rounded at top. There is no way to get those up by hand. The rears do have a peg left sticking up and could be unlocked by hand.

Anyway, without being able to inspect the actual damage/condition/location etc. it would be impossible to say much for certain about the mechanic’s statement.

Most vehicles with lock plungers that can’t be manipulated with your fingers will automatically unlock if you try to open the door from the inside. I don’t know if that is the case with the Ranger, but it’s been the case with every car I’ve ever owned with power locks and the flush-when-locked door lock plungers.

With two people, this is easy enough to test. One person should get in the car and lock the doors. The other person should disconnect the battery. The first person should try the door handle and see if it opens the door purely mechanically.

Every Ford I have seen can be opened from the inside without unlocking them. It’s a safety feature. You don’t have to unlock them. You just pull the handle.

Not if it has “Child Safety Locks”…

A few years ago it was recommended to carry a hammer under the seat in order to break a window in the event other attempts at egress failed…

On sll of the cars that I have/had (this is of course no where near to all of the cars in existence), pulling the driver’s door handle on the inside mechanically unlocks and opens the door. There’s no need to get to the door lock for this.

Child locks are almost exclusively on the back doors. The Ranger in question has two doors.

You’d think if this was a real problem we’d hear about it more often, from folks with dead batteries being trapped in their cars.

How many have you seen with a child safety lock on the driver’s door?

Not only do I not believe that she wouldn’t have been able to open the doors because of a short, but even if so, I don’t believe she would have been trapped.

I carry an “escape hammer” in my cars - a nice sharp point to break glass (it takes very little force if you concentrate that force in a small area) with an integral blade to cut seat belts.

Even if you didn’t have one, though, “Worst Case Scenario” with Bear Grylls on Discovery showed a foolproof way to get through the window - pull out your headrest, grab it by the padding and jab the metal rods into the window. That’s your own escape hammer, whether you knew you had it or not.

They just showed this yesterday on ‘Mythbusters’ re: being trapped in a car underwater. Both the ‘escape hammer’ and a spring-loaded punch did the trick. This is about $10 at amazon:

$3 at Harbor Freight.

Still more expensive than your headrest, though - and more likely to get lost in some random cubbyhole. :slight_smile:

I don’t believe that all cars have headrests that can be removed quickly and without tools.

I suppose that’s possible, but all car’s I’ve owned have had headrests that come out easily.

Some headrests now have active crash response. I suspect that those are not removable, but I don’t know that for a fact.

People can’t even be expected to step on the correct pedal in an emergency situation, you want them to remove their headrest? too much TV going on here