If you’ve lived a good, long, full life there’s a good chance that at least once along the way, you thought you’d bought the farm.
Many of us are surprised sometimes to find ourselves still alive in the morning, and though scary at the time, they can be some of the best stories to share.
Here are people describing those moments in their lives, and you’re going to love them.
1. Total panic.
I ate one of those Brach’s oval shaped hard candies (think they were called Sparklettes) at home alone when I was 6. Got stuck in my throat. I stood there in shock for a few seconds as I started to realize I couldn’t breathe.
I ran crazily around the room and ended up colliding hard into the back of the couch which caused the candy to go flying out. Best accidental Heimlich ever.
2. A burrito c-section.
My friend put me in a fold out couch when we were 12, unaware of how to get me back out because of the weight and pressure on me i started to panic and scream making it worse.
He cut me out of the center of it like a burrito c section.
My friends step father was an extremely abusive drill instructor, the beating he took was terrible.
But that’s my story, emergency c section from a fold up couch.
Logan my friend at 16 finally started to fight back, and the first fight he won he was immediately kicked out. He lived with me and my family for years until he got himself stable on his own. That was 21 years ago, he’s still my good friend, just life itself has seperated us.
3. Impossible survival.
I was driving in the left lane of a highway going 80. A car didn’t check their bond spot and merged into me. I was run off the road and lost control of the car. It flipped and dragged along the highway for 200 feet.
I remember the sparks flying up at me in slow motion. The only damage to be was cuts on my arm from done glass. my girlfriend just had a few cuts on her leg.
When I look at the photos of the car it doesn’t look like anything could have survived that.
4. A terrible fire.
A really bad flash fire at work where I jumped into a pit to get away from the heat. I saw the flames roll right over top of the pit.
I thought for sure I was going to die. I got some wicked 3rd degree burns, but I lived.
5. The whites of his eyes.
When I was 18 I was driving through an intersection with the right of way (going 70 kmph, or 43.5 mph), a man in a blue Mazda-3 hatchback decided to run the red light turning left. He was so close to me that I could see the whites of his eyes, and in a split second I thought “I’m about to T-Bone this guy, driver side door and he is going to die”.
Instinctively I yanked on the wheel and swerved to the right and instantly went over the curb and off the road, onto someones lawn. I slammed the brakes but because I was on grass the tires locked and the car kept momentum. I went through their wooden fence and garden, and straight into the brick wall on the side of their house.
As soon as I went off the road, I 100% thought I was going to die. My life didn’t flash before my eyes, but people close to me did. It could have only been a second or two but time seemed to slow down and my brain was racing. I thought about how my girlfriend would react, what my parents would say, what my friends would think, etc.
When the car hit the wall it punched a few bricks out of place and the entire front end of the vehicle caved in. The windows shattered, the tires exploded, the doors bent into an L shape and the car started to fill with smoke, however the radio was still playing Vicarious by Tool.
I was concussed by the airbag, broke my nose, jaw, two fingers, had whiplash and my left knee was dislocated. I was in shock and couldn’t believe that what just happened was real, and so I just sat there kinda freaking out. A group of parents from a birthday party across the street saw what happened and ran to the car and pulled me from it as they thought it was about to catch fire. The man in the Mazda-3 drove away.
If it wasn’t for the testimony of those parents who told the police they witnessed the man run the intersection and that I didn’t do anything wrong, I would have been completely liable for all of the property damage and additionally insurance would not have replaced the vehicle as it would have been deemed at-fault. I am glad nobody else got hurt.
6. My heart was in my throat.
Had a paintball fight on Christmas morning with 2 cousins and their neighbor kid at around 13 years old with our brand new guns we got as gifts. The neighbor got mad, ran home, came back with a shotgun, and pointed it my face. All I remember is looking at the ground and waiting to die.
The kid was 11-12. He did have his own paintball gun, and had already shot me a couple times before I got him. He was my cousins neighbor. I think it was the first time I ever met him. It was 20ish years ago, as I’m 33 now, so I can’t even remember if I told my parents. I don’t know if anything happened to him or not.
I know I never touched that paintball gun again though.
7. Fully focused.
Fell asleep driving through the night with my brothers. They were supposed to stay awake and help me stay awake, but were out cold.
I woke up as the right front tire kissed the gravel on the side of the highway, ripped the wheel to the left, and managed only to spin out.
Weird thing was, while it was happening, I was crystal clear, fully focused, and totally in control — as if time had slowed down — but thinking that we were all d**d.
8. Never again.
About 29 years ago, when I was around 6 years old, I went to a friends house. My mom and I moved a lot, since we were always renting, so I wasn’t great friends with this kid and my mom didn’t know their parents all too well.
Anyway, I was upstairs in this kid’s parent’s room. It’s just him and me in there, sitting on the floor. He asks if I want to see something cool, obviously I did. He pulls a box out from under his parent’s bed. It was a really nice, shiny wooden box. Hefty. He had to put some strength into pulling it out. I couldn’t wait to see what was inside. He opens the clasps, lifts the lid, and pulls out a revolver.
I was initially curious and probably a little excited to see something I had only seen on television. He then points the revolver directly at me. I freaked out immediately, tried to gain traction as I pushed my feet out from under me. I just fell back and kept pushing myself away from him, and the gun, with my heels, my legs were jelly.
I quickly ended up in the hallway, at the top of the stairs, and just let myself fall backwards down the stairs. I rolled to the bottom, jumped up, looked directly at his startled mother, who was standing in the kitchen, none the wiser, and I bolted out the front door. As soon as I got home I told my mom. I remember her going over to their house, without me, immediately after. Never played with that kid again.
9. Old advice.
The hood on my car came open at 60 on the highway and completely blocked my sight in heavy traffic. I panicked and jerked the wheel a little bit which caused me to fishtail a little bit.
I s*%t you not, my drivers education teacher’s words from five years prior rang in my head to lean down and look through the the space at the bottom of the hood. I pulled over and used some wire I found in the trunk to keep the hood closed.
Any time you close your hood make sure it latches securely by pulling on the hood like you’re trying to lift the front of the car off the ground!
10. So far.
Yesterday morning when I slipped on some wet tin on a roof my safety cable didn’t activate, luckily my coworker caught me, thats about as close as I’ve gotten so far.
11. A weird calm.
When both the stewardess and pilot at different times came on the loud speaker of the plane saying they are doing their best to land safely.
Then seeing the fire engines and other emergency vehicles on the runway waiting for us.
The plane landed fine but as it was going for the landing a weird calm came over me because I knew I wasn’t going to make it and that was fine.
12. Oh my goodness.
I was drunk and running in the woods when bam, barb wire fence straight to the throat. The last thing I remember I couldn’t breathe and was passing out and there was blood squirting from my neck.
Woke up an hour later and walked home looking like a murder victim.
13. Completely unharmed.
Went white water rafting on the Gauley river and my raft flipped on pillow rock (one of the most famous class v rapids).
Scariest moment of my life but, other than unexpectedly swallowing some water and almost vomiting, I came out completely unharmed.
14. A waking nightmare.
Two years ago I was sleeping in my then girlfriends bed with her and her two kids. Around 3 or 4 in the morning I hear someone walking around in the room and open my eyes to see her ex-boyfriend (who she had left months ago but wouldn’t leave her alone and “let her” leave him) walking to turn the light on. As he turns the light on I see him grab a gun from behind his back.
At this point I’m thinking that he is going to just turn and shot me and I am worried about the kids getting hit. I go to roll onto my back to get up and as I roll I get hit in the throat by his fist. I can’t swallow for a few seconds and I think to myself I need to calm down and try to breathe before I panic. Once I realize my windpipe isn’t crushed I sit up in the bed and tell the kids to go hide in the closest.
At this point he is screaming at me and I am barely awake, I get hit in the side of the head with the gun, try my best to move with it and sit back up. Screaming continues, girlfriend is now screaming at him to leave and he hits me in the other side of the head.
Once I sit back up again he points the gun in my face while screaming. He finally decides that it’s not worth it or something and leaves through the door he broke in from, shoots off his clip into a field across the street and him and his friend drive off.
Cops get called and they get him not even an hour later, he is now in prison for 12 more years and I walked away with just a bad headache the next morning. I thought I was d**d the moment I saw the gun and lucky no one was seriously hurt.
The worse part of it all is the kids having to go through it and how many people tell me they would have beat his a**. Dude had at least 150 pounds on me and a gun.
15. One terrible moment.
Parachute deployed but failed to open. That was one of those moments, than training kicked in.
Cut away failed chute, deploy secondary. But for a brief moment life was about to be over in my mind.
16. The tree still stands.
I was at the end of a 2 hour journey about 10 mins from home, pretty rural and I was probably complacent because I took that road everyday. I took a bend at 40MPH (legal limit was 60MPH so wasn’t breaking any speeding rules) which I’ve done many times before, probably faster which looking back was really reckless.
Didn’t see until it was too late that a car had spun out on the other side of the corner and another car had pulled up to help. I slammed on but I wasn’t going to stop in time before hitting the cars pulled up/crashed. I was hurtling straight towards the other cars and people who where stood in the road from the other crash.
It was like time slowed down and I was at a cross roads; in my mind I had three choices. Continue on my path and hit the other cars and people, veer to the right and go into a field but there was oncoming traffic and there was a chance I’d hit them or veer to the left and fly into a wooded area.
I chose the last option, and in that moment I knew the chances of me surviving or not being seriously injured after a 40MPH head on collision to a tree in a 10 year old Ford KA was pretty slim.
I just felt a complete peace come over me, turned the wheel and woke up slumped over the steering wheel to some poor man shouting ‘OMG I THINK SHE’S D**D’
Turned out I passed out from shock or something before the impact so when I hit the tree I was completely floppy and this contributed to me having no serious injuries. The front of my car was completely disintegrated, after coming to I tried to put my clutch down to take the car out of gear out of habit and my foot hit the tree trunk.
The tree was absolutely fine. I drove past that tree everyday for years after and you could see the chunk my car took out of it.
17. I can feel the adrenaline.
Tire popped going over a two lane road with steep drops on both sides. My car jerked to the side hard, and my car went sideways. Half my car hung over the side and luckily it’s low so it bottomed out. I climbed into the back seat and jumped out the back door.
Some dude in a truck pulled me out and I drove on a flat to the other side and swapped my tire out.
18. The beginning of the end.
I had an idiot friend and we were hiking. We got to this waterfall and he goes “dude let’s climb it!” I said no fu**ing way. He says “well I’m gonna do it and if I fall and die it’s on you for not coming.”
So I climbed it with him. Got stuck halfway up on a slick a** rock. Pinched a nerve in my shoulder, so my right arm was useless. I thought I was certain to slip off the rock to my doom, but we managed to get me unstuck. That was the beginning of the end for that friendship.
19. No permanent damage.
Yeah, I got my self into an accident on a motorcycle a number of years ago. I don’t really remember any thing about the crash, but I remember basically as soon as I stood up and realized I was no longer on the bike, a guy driving a dump truck rushed over to check that I was OK and helped me drag the bike off of the tree it had found it’s way up. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
For reference, I was mostly ok aside from some scrapes, bruises, and strains. I was wearing a helmet, an armored jacket, gloves and riding shoes. Got rugburn from my jeans on one leg, and felt like I got run over by a truck the next day, but no permanent damage.
20. The scars remain.
I nearly died following a friend who took a crazy route down a hill on a hike. It’s crazy how strong that peer pressure can be.
We were up on a mountain and he slid down the snow of this one section as a short cut. He went down in a crouch with one foot out front. When I tried to do it I ended up a starfish pose just spinning around as I came down. My legs rolled over a bunch of rocks and I came to a rest with my head in a snowbank.
I had to hike down hill for like 4 hours after that and every step was excruciating. I just kept thinking if it was my head or back going over those rocks if I would have made it out. I still have scars on my leg.
21. It felt like an eternity.
When I was a kid I was playing hide and seek with my siblings and I got the brilliant idea to hide in the trunk of the car. I meant to leave the trunk barely open so that it didn’t latch but accidentally closed it too far and it latched. Mind you this was before they put handles in cars to open trunks from the inside so I was legitimately stuck.
It was almost completely dark so I started seriously freaking out and I thought I was going to die, so I started yelling for help as loud as I could and was kicking at the back seat thinking maybe I could break the latch that keeps the seat from folding. I was probably only in there for about 5 minutes before someone heard me and let me out but it felt like an eternity.
To this day I firmly believe it was because of this incident that I developed some minor claustrophobia. I still have serious fears about being in small, cramped and dark areas.
22. Like a stab to the heart.
Wife was pregnant and we went away for the weekend to house we rented in the mountains. Second day she went to bed early and I stayed up drawing. At 3am she comes downstairs and says she’s in a world of pain and is worried about baby (2 months before due date).
We head out and there is no cell reception. By the time we can call her doctor we realize the time needed to get to a hospital that has the right level NICU we might as well head back to our hospital. Two hours later we are there and due to Covid restrictions I can’t come in.
It was freezing outside and they wouldn’t let me be anywhere in the hospital where I could lay down so I talked my way into some room in the lobby and tried to sleep while sitting. Got kicked out of there and just bummed around waiting for an update. Around noon they say they’ll be keeping her for observation but I still need to clear out from the rental.
Driving back two hours and it starts snowing pretty hard. It’s a semi rural area and if they do plow the snow they haven’t gotten there yet. I’m being careful and fighting off sleep. The roads are super winding and high in the mountains. At some point car starts drifting across the double lines.
I did my best to even out but it completely got away from me. Slide through the opposite lane and continue to the shoulder. I see the ledge and realize if the car doesn’t stop I’ll plummet to my d**th. Have a brief moment where I think about my daughter and the kid in my wife’s belly I haven’t met yet. Felt like a stab in my heart and that second go off the road completely.
Fortunately there was enough snow in the space between the ledge to trap my car. I passed out in the crash but luckily a couple was a minute or two behind me and their honking snapped me out of it. They pulled me out of the car and went to get help (no service on the mountain). A couple of other people stopped including a guy who had a big pickup. We dug the car out some and rigged the rope so he was able to pull me out.
Despite Covid I had to be physically removed from both these guys because I was hugging them so tight. I was able to make it back to the hospital without anyone knowing. Told them after the kid was born. Sent my guardian angels pictures and $100 gift cards as if that’s adequate.
23. A terrible, terrible choice.
I was driving down a highway, doing 65 MPH, and suddenly my car started to shake. I tapped the brakes in reflex and my entire car flipped 180 degrees. I’m now facing oncoming traffic, including a semi truck. I was so close I couldn’t see the driver compartment.
I screamed and jerked the wheel, bringing me in front of a sedan with two people screaming as they watched me appear out of nowhere.
I kept screaming and floored the gas pedal. Made it to the side of the road and cried for a long time.
I had blown a rear tire. Hitting the brakes was a terrible terrible choice.
24. I might actually die right here.
I was a senior in high school, and the student club I was in organized an unofficial beach trip towards the end of the year; no teachers or official permission, leaving me and a few other seniors in charge of supervising everything. After a couple hour’s worth of fun, one of the other students came running up to me and said that three of the younger members of the club had been swept out by a riptide and couldn’t get back towards the shore.
Me and two other of the older students, all experienced swimmers, immediately went to go help them; my friends got two of the three kids in trouble and started guiding them parallel to the shore to get them out of the current, but the guy I went for was panicking, barely staying above the water, and started dragging me down with him almost immediately.
I yelled for people to get a lifeguard and tried to keep both of us afloat, but after a few minutes (maybe five, maybe ten, it felt like forever) I was getting exhausted, having trouble keeping both of us above the water, and I couldn’t see anyone coming to the rescue.
I started getting big mouthfuls of water and my leg muscles were starting to cramp up, and I remember thinking “Holy s**t I might actually die right here, right now” as the current started pulling us further and further away from where everyone was.
Thankfully for everyone involved, one of the students on the beach had flagged down a couple of surfers, who made their way out to where we were as quickly as they could and hauled first the younger student and then me onto the front of their boards and took us back to shore. I’ll always be thankful and appreciative for those strangers who put themselves in the dangerous position of rescuing two drowning swimmers
25. The nature of reality.
One of my most surreal experiences of my life (I had a lot of weird ones around this time) was riding my bike on the sidewalk next to an extremely busy road at night. I hit something on the sidewalk – I don’t know what – and tumbled sideways into the street.
As I fell, I saw the road light up from headlights from a car behind me, and when I hit the asphalt, I just laid there because I knew I couldn’t get out of the way in time. After a second or so I wasn’t d**d, so I looked around and the street was empty. It wasn’t empty when I fell. There were cars going in both directions.
That was 20+ years ago and I’m still not entirely convinced that I didn’t die. It’s possible that I imagined the headlights, but that road is NEVER empty like it was. It’s a major street in a major city. It always has cars on it, even at 3 AM.
It was the first of many experiences that lead me down a path of questioning the nature of reality.
26. Totally unscathed.
I survived a car crash that wrecked my car. Rolled twice, landed upside down, learned the hard way that I didn’t have airbags (or at least they didn’t deploy).
Did have my seatbelt on though, that probably saved me. Paramedic said he hadn’t seen a wreckage like that and have it end well.
Not even a hairline fracture.
I’ll never forget what a paramedic told me: “in my 30 years on the job, I’ve never unbuckled a d**d person.”
27. It felt very lonely.
Boyfriend finally woke me up shortly after we had fallen asleep in a small upstairs bedroom that had a smouldering fire. After we collapsed on the floor and couldn’t find the door that was not even five feet away, we kept hitting walls and corners and started to not comprehend anything.
After feeling like I was baking in an oven I laid my head down on the floor thinking I’d never see my son again and how sad it was to die. It felt like eternity and felt very lonely. My boyfriend somehow found his phone on the floor, called 911.
Fire department showed up in what felt like two seconds but couldn’t break down the front door. They shined the flashlight up to window so he could kick out the AC unit, which he did. They finally came upstairs and we crawled to them and they took us straight to the burn unit since they didn’t know what shape we were in.
I’m pretty sure the entire hospital toured through our room since they’ve never seen anyone make it out and look the way we did
28. Absolutely terrifying.
My mom was riding in a convertible with a friend of hers. They came to an intersection and the friend lost control of the vehicle.
There was a big rig going through the intersection and they went right under the trailer. My mom ducked, the driver didn’t not.
Driver was decapitated, my mom was lucky and only ended up with a scalp full of glass and some serious psychological trauma. She had to get over 200 stitches in her scalp But nothing else significant.
I think about it all the time and think how close I came to never being born at all.
29. What about them?
I was driving home from college on one of those highways with only one lane in either direction and no shoulder. A guy in the oncoming lane didn’t see me as I was in a small car. He thought he could pass 4 18 wheelers in one go and pulled into my lane going at least 90. There was no where for me to go.
He flew off into the ditch to avoid hitting me head on, likely did severe damage to his car, but I lived!
30. Well this is it.
I went out for a surf on a stormy day and thought to myself, “no one else is out, those idiots.” Before being held down by 2 waves after eating it on the first wave of the set. First wave of the session.
Was thrown down and held under and while being tossed around my leg rope wrapped around both my legs and one of my arms so I was probably being held at around 5ft under with only one arm free while my board tombstoned (board tip is barely visible at the surface but floats vertical like…a tombstone.)
finally managed to catch a breath between sets before taking another 3 or 4 on the head and for sure just thought…well this is it. No ones out, fishermen will find my body or my board.
Managed to get my other arm free and got to shore very quickly and then avoided the ocean for a few days even though the waves were absolutely perfect.
There’s a reason no one was out, everyone else was 10 minutes down the road at another beach where the waves were smaller and cleaner.
There are so many parents reading these lists and having heart attacks, y’all.
Share your own near-d**th moment with us in the comments!