Thankfully, quicksand isn’t as dangerous in real life as it appears to be in Hollywood movies. However, don’t use that as an excuse to underestimate this natural phenomena, as quicksand is a real danger and it can potentially kill you.
How to avoid getting stuck in quicksand in the first place
Quicksand is often found near beaches, rivers and marshes. When walking in these areas, you should be on the lookout for ground that appears to be unstable. Be warned however, as you cannot detect quicksand just by looking at it. It doesn’t work that way. The best way to avoid getting stuck in quicksand in the first place is to bring a long stick with you to areas that you suspect might contain quicksand. While walking slowly and carefully (and preferably barefooted), you can use the stick to check the ground ahead of you. If the ground ahead of you ripples or moves, then you should probably take that as a sign that you are about to waltz right into quicksand.
What if I get stuck in quicksand?
The first thing you need to remember is that you should remain calm and try not to panic. Any violent struggle etc will lead to you sinking even deeper. If you struggle and wave your arms around, the quicksand will further liquefy and it will become more and more difficult for you to escape. I think that we can both agree this is something we want to avoid. Once you’re calm; remove as much heavy items from your person as possible. Carrying a heavy backpack? Well then take it off and toss it aside. Carrying something heavy? Let it go. Also; if you can get your shoes off, then do so, as flat-soled shoes and boots can cause suction, making it more difficult for you to be pulled out of the quicksand. Now, try to relax yourself. Remember, quicksand in real life isn’t usually as deep as it is in Hollywood movies. Usually, it’s only a couple of feet deep. If you do happen to get stuck in deep quicksand, relax as much as you possibly can, as your body’s buoyancy will actually allow you to float at the top of the quicksand, preventing you from going under. Once you’re relaxed; you should breathe deep breaths. These deep breaths will help keep you calm and also help your body remain buoyant. It is pretty much impossible to go under if a) you’re relaxed and b) your lungs are full of air. Now is the time to remember that every movement of yours should be slow and steady. No fast jerks. No kicking your legs about. Just slow, steady and controlled movements. If you begin to sink past your hips, then slowly bend backwards. The more you bend backwards, the more you will be spreading out your weight, maintaining your buoyancy; therefore making it more difficult for you to sink. Once you are fully floating on your back, you will be able to get your legs loose. This should be done very calmly – i.e. no frantic movements. After you’ve managed to get your legs out of the quicksand, you can begin to inch yourself to safety by carefully and slowly using your arms to float yourself across the top of the quicksand. The main idea here is to be patient and take your time. If you feel yourself getting tired, then it is time to take a break. Exhaustion is just as dangerous as panic when it comes to being stuck in quicksand.