How Do You Breathe in a Car?

February 18, 2024

Unless you're stowed away in Elon Musk's old Tesla, the chances of your car crashing into the water are slim to none. Even so, if you're stranded in the vehicle, it's possible that you could run out of oxygen, and eventually suffocate. Here's how do you breathe in a car in the event of an emergency.

The risk of suffocation in a car can be increased by certain factors, such as hot weather and locked doors. Unconsciousness and physical limitations also increase the danger. In these cases, it's important to know the warning signs and take preventive measures.

Cars aren't airtight. While they have doors and windows that are sealed, the ventilation system in most cars allows outside air to circulate through the passenger compartment. This means that you can always breath in a car, even when the engine is off and the windows are closed.

Breathing poorly or discomfort can cause you to hyperventilate and lose valuable oxygen. This can trigger a panic attack. Luckily, you can avoid this by loosening your seatbelt (safely), and allowing your body more space to breathe. In addition, it's helpful to practice breathing techniques, such as deep breathing and slowing your breathing down, to help you avoid anxiety and panic attacks while driving. If you're unable to breathe, it's a good idea to pull over and open your door or window, even if you don't want to leave the vehicle. In most cases, this will be enough to rebalance the internal atmosphere and give you the ability to breathe normally again.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
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