AAA Calling for Chesapeake Bay Bridge Investigation after Friday's crash

AAA Calling for Chesapeake Bay Bridge Investigation after Friday's crash

One woman miraculously survived a 40-foot-plunge from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after a tractor trailer rear-ended her car.
STEVENSILLE, MD - AAA Mid-Atlantic is calling for a national investigation of the Chesapeake Bridge after Friday night's frightening accident.

"I just knew that I was gonna die, I was going down," says Morgan Lake, 22.

Lake miraculously survived a 40-foot-plunge from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after a tractor trailer rear-ended her car. Lake's only injuries were a sprained ankle and elbow, and cuts from shattered glass.

"AAA Mid-Atlantic has called on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the crash in general as well as the integrity of the railings on the bridge," says Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The railings on the bridge, called "Jersey barriers," are designed to deflect cars that may hit the railing at a small angle.

AAA says there are more than 25 million vehicle trips across the Bay Bridge every year, much of them during the summer months. The agency also says this isn't the first time a car has gone plunging off the bridge.

"Back in August 2008, we had a terrible crash on the bridge as well, when a tractor trailer went off the bridge and the driver died, unfortunately, in that incident," says Averella.

AAA confirms the NTSB has received their letter of request, but have yet to respond.

Safety experts say these types of crashes rarely happen, but AAA says it doesn't hurt to be prepared. They offer these safety tips from the National Safety Commission:

  • Don't panic. Once your car hits the water it will not sink immediately (You will have at least one or two minutes before the car begins to sink, safety experts say).
  • If possible, jump out while car is on surface.
  • If your car is still floating, roll down the window and unbuckle your seat belt to escape.
  • If your car is submerged, safety experts suggest remaining buckled up while you break the driver or passenger's side window to escape.
  • Allow the pressure of the water to equalize inside the sodden vehicle before attempting to open the doors or windows. Water weighs 62.4 lbs. per cubic foot.
  • Move toward rear of vehicle where the air bubble is forming.
  • Water pressure against the water-logged doors will make opening the doors very difficult until the pressure inside of the vehicle and outside of the vehicle are equal.   
  • Open your windows to allow yourself and your passengers to escape (Contrary to popular opinion, the "power windows won't stop working within seconds after impact." The power can stay on as along as 10 minutes).

The nightmarish crash from the Bay Bridge is a reminder to motorists of the importance of carrying and keeping a sharp tool, such as a Philips screwdriver or a spring-loaded center punch, in their glove compartment or in the cabin of their vehicle. The tool is a life-saver. Here's why: it allows you to break the tempered glass to extricate yourself and your passengers from the sinking vehicle. Other salient tips include:

  • If the windows are blocked, try to push the windshield or rear window out with your feet or shoulder.
  • Rescue the children or passengers who need assistance to help them to escape. If children are in the sinking or submerged car, unbuckle their seatbelts and or child passenger seat, starting with the oldest child first.
  • Safeguard the kids. Push the children out the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Always keep a window-breaking tool in your vehicle in an easily accessible location, safety experts suggest.
  • Remove heavy clothing before attempting to swim to safety.
  • Swim to the surface as safely and quickly as possible (swim in the direction of the current if you're in deep water).
  • Push off for quick rise to the surface.
  • If you can't swim try to float. Use your body's natural buoyancy to float.  Raise your head to breathe.
  • Call for medical attention as quickly as possible
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