Three people were killed in an early morning crash in Lake County, and rescuers reportedly found the vehicle submerged in a creek off Belshaw Road.Our Lowell car accident lawyers understand that the deceased were identified as a 21-year-old male driver, a 20-year-old female passenger and a 40-year-old male passenger.
While investigators are still looking into how events unfolded, we recognize that Indiana’s numerous bodies of water (18 rivers and four lakes – not including Lake Michigan) create ample opportunity for tragic scenarios such as this to occur. It’s important for drivers and passengers to know what to do in the event of vehicle submersion. Fast, decisive action can often mean the difference between life and death.
In this case, authorities believe the vehicle was moving east on Belshaw when for some reason it left the road as it was rounding a curve. After digging into the grass, the car flew into the air and hit a tree before plunging into the creek and coming to a rest on its roof.
What we don’t know at this point is whether the individuals inside were killed upon impact or whether they drowned. In many submerged vehicle situations, surviving the initial impact is the biggest challenge. That is why is is so important to always, always, always wear your seat belt. There is the mistaken belief that somehow wearing your seat belt is going to mean you’ll be stuck in a vehicle if you land in the water. This is false. What’s more, your ability to be alert and conscious upon impact is going to make all the difference in whether you’ll be able to survive the vehicle’s entry into the water.
If this is a situation in which you ever find yourself, the National Safety Council suggests the following:
- Brace yourself for the impact. As soon as you realize you are going to go off the road and into the water, put your hands on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 position. This reduces your risk of injury or unconsciousness from the airbag’s deployment.
- Do your best to stay calm. Panic consumes energy and air – neither of which you can afford to lose right now.
- Unbuckle your seat belt. People often forget to do this, but it’s the very first thing you need to take care of.
- Unbuckle the children, starting with the oldest, who may be able to help with the others.
- Forget your cell phone. People have lost their lives trying to dial 911 in a sinking car.
- Open the window. Forget the door. An electric window should still work for up to three minutes in the water.
- If you can’t get the window open manually, your focus needs to be on breaking it, either with an object or your foot.
- Once the window is open, grab the children, take a deep breath and swim out and up.
Call Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Burton A. Padove at 877-446-5294.
Three dead in Lowell morning accident, Feb. 4, 2013, Post-Tribune Staff Report
More Blog Entries:
Report: Indiana Driver Safety Attitudes, Behaviors, Don’t Jive, Feb. 11, 2013, Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Blog