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Submerged car escape: Step-by-step instructions on how to get out

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BAY BRIDGE, Md. (WJLA) - You are trying to escape from a submerged car and only have a few minutes. Do you know what to do?

The unthinkable happened on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Friday night. A tractor-trailer rear-ended a vehicle driven by a 22-year-old college student. Her car went over the railing and then it plummeted 40 feet into the dark waters of the Bay. The driver, Morgan Lake, was able to escape and swim to the surface.

This is more common than you think. Annually, almost 10 percent of all drowning deaths in the United States can be attributed to being submerged in a car.

AAA Mid-Atlantic has life saving tips.

The first and perhaps best advice AAA gives is don't panic, your car won't sink right away. It will take at least 2-3 minutes. If you're still above water, roll down the window and get out.

If possible, move toward rear of vehicle where the air bubble is forming. And where the vehicle is lighter on weight.

If it's too late and the car is submerged, stay buckled up and break the passengers aide window or your own. Wait for the pressure of the water to equalize inside the car and try to get out.

Motorists should always keep a sharp tool, such as a screwdriver or a spring-loaded center punch, in their glove compartment.

And first, rescue children or passengers inside.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is calling for an investigation into what happened Friday.

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