Despite what every corny adventure movie has ever led you to believe, the chances of quicksand ever swallowing you whole is very unlikely as these film representations are completely misleading, as in most cases you will only ever sink approximately halfway.
Out of all locations, quicksand is most likely to occur near rivers, estuaries, swamps, and canyons—if you’re from the United States—as this natural phenomenon can’t just occur in anywhere, as it will always require some sort of underground water reserve to form.
While the vast majority of people are able to escape quicksand without any serious problems, it is when you get stuck within an area that has a rising tide that things can quickly go wrong. However, so long as you continue to slowly move your legs, you will begin to create a space for water to flow back into the sand – eventually making your escape feel like a breeze.
It is important to remember, that if you ever find yourself in a predicament with quicksand, simply follow these seven easy steps that will help you escape with ease
Don’t Panic & Stay Calm
Despite what you have seen in the movies, quicksand will rarely ever cause you any significant harm as people are not dense enough to be completely swallowed by the powerful quicksand vacuum. While in most cases, quicksand isn’t usually more than a few feet deep, however, in the chance that you are in a particularly deep spot, you can very well sink quickly up to your chest.
By relaxing your body and taking deep, slow breaths not only will you remain calmer, but your body will naturally become more buoyant—essentially causing you to float.
While the experience may be scary, remember that by keeping your wits about yourself and not panicking, your quicksand escape will be a complete breeze.
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Attempt To Backtrack
Before it’s too late, and you begin to sink further into the sandy abyss, attempt to backtrack by making a few quick steps backward toward solid ground.
You will also need to remember that when trying to move backwards, avoid making any large, lung-like steps as a straddled position will only make it much more difficult to try and maneuver if you get one of your legs stuck.
When making your way back to solid ground, ensure that you are following your previous footsteps as creating a new path could lead to more danger.
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Remove Any Extra Weight Or Gear
When it comes to quicksand, one of the most important factors that you need to remember is that the lighter you make your body, the easier it will extract yourself as any unnecessary weight will cause you to sink faster.
Although your boots and backpack may be worth a small fortune, ditching this extra weight will be a lifesaver—literally. By wriggling out of your shoes you are simplifying your escape significantly as boots, in particular, become stubborn suction cups when used in mud.
Avoid Struggling At All Costs
If there is one thing that you should not do when trapped in quicksand, it would be to avoid any form of struggling —no matter how scary the situation may be.
While wriggling your legs and struggling to get free may be your first initial reaction upon getting stuck, it can also guarantee that you are only making your situation worse. While wriggling may appear to be your only way out, it is important to remember that quicksand is known as a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning that it liquefies whenever there is movement.
As a result, your weight and movement is pushing water from the sand, causing it to thicken and create a vacuum type seal that tugs you down.
Sit Down Or Lean On Your Back
Believe it or not, quicksand is much like a swimming pool, you’ll sink if you stand up, but you’ll float if you spread out onto your back. This is why it is important to remember that the key factor when trying to escape quicksand is to redistribute your weight evenly.
If you happen to only be ankle or knee deep, slowly sit down onto the quicksand, however, if you are waist deep, lean onto your back as this will cause your body to float rather than sink. It will also usually allow your feet to float towards the surface, making your escape much easier.
Start Moving Your Legs
Now that your upper body is serving as a counterweight, you can now begin to pull your legs from the quicksand. The key to this step is to make slow and strategical movements, as too much struggling could worsen your situation.
When moving your legs, wriggle one leg at a time in a small circle and then gently pull. This will cause water to slowly flood the sand around you, weakening the quicksand.
Crawl To Safety
Once both of your legs are successfully free, slowly climb onto your stomach and begin crawling towards solid ground. Just remember, the more you keep your body weight balanced, the less likely that you will sink.
Now that you are finally free from the quicksand, you will have quite the story to share with your friends for the rest of your life.