Morgan Lake, a 22-year-old College of Southern Maryland student, lived to tell the story of a driver's worst nightmare on the four-plus mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Driving on the bridge around 8:30 p.m. Friday night, Lake was struck by a tractor-trailing that sent her car careening off the bridge into shallow waters.
"Everything around me exploded. Glass everywhere. Airbag in my face," Lake told NBC Washington, after saying that she remembers "everything" about the accident.
Between the time her 2007 Chrysler Sebring was hit by the truck and she came up for air, a lot went through Lake's mind.
"I didn't hit the water immediately -- I was in air, and in the air is when I felt that I was gone," said Lake, who said she felt like she was "slightly drowning" when the car hit the water.
But, Lake says, she decided this wasn't the way she wanted to go.
"I felt I didn't want to drown, I didn't want to go out that way...I had the time to think I was going to die, and the time to process to change my mind. And to stop fighting and to relax my body and unbuckle my seatbelt to swim out."
That was went she took action. And got herself out of the car.
"My eyes were closed at this time, so I'm visualizing all of what my car looks like...I grab onto the side of my door where the window was, climb out on it and I pushed off of my feet from the car to give me some momentum to go up to the surface. As soon as I got to the surface I took five big, really deep breaths of air because I really felt like I was not going to make it...I couldn't hold my breath any longer," Lake told WUSA9.
Lake was flown by helicopter from the scene to the Shock Trauma Center and has since been released. She needs a walker to help her walk, but, Lake says, she is just glad to still be alive.
"I'm just blessed to be here. Blessed to get a second chance," Lake told WJLA.
Watch more interviews with Lake: