Have you ever had a close call with death? A situation that you shouldn’t have been in at all, and were lucky to get out of. I was in a pretty bad van accident when I was younger, and it was definitely a moment that made me take stock of my fleeting mortality.
AskReddit users opened up and shared their personal stories about big mistakes that almost cost them their lives.
1. Electric shock
“Many years ago I owned a pub.
I went upstairs to the house area to find all the lights were off. I flicked the trip switches to turn the lights back on; which they did. I then heard running water from my co owners fishtank in the lounge, turns out the protein skimmer had flipped over and was spilling water over the wall socket.
Instincively (and very stupidly) went to turn off the plug and as soon as i touched it got sent flying over the back of the sofa.
Dont know how im still alive to this day.”
2. Not very bright
“As teenagers we used to smoke pot in the garage in the car with it running for hours. No idea how we didn’t kill everyone in the house multiple times over.”
3. Dear old Dad
“My dad got trashed and tried to jump over the fence at Yankee Stadium with his friends. He failed and an iron spike punctured him. He remembers being rushed to the hospital and bleeding everywhere. Everyone thought he was going to die of blood loss. Didn’t die but he also made several more stupid mistakes such as riding a motorcycle without a helmet and breaking several ribs etc etc. Honestly he is still stupid and I’m surprised he hasn’t died yet.”
“Driving over an IED in Iraq that’s battery had gone bad in the heat. If the battery was live i wouldn’t be.
Edit: a lot of people are wondering how i knew that it was there when it didn’t go off, so here is the answer to that.
I was in a rural area. I didn’t see some disturbed dirt in the dirt road that we were driving on, but my lieutenant in the passenger seat almost shit his pants because his life flashed before his eyes. He literally curled into a ball in his seat. I asked him what was up. And he said he was sure that there was something back there. We were currently escorting troop carriers to drop off a foot patrol in the middle of nowhere, so after we completed our drop off we went back on his order to check out the spot. My truck was the only one with an RF jammer, so i took the lead up to the spot my lieutenant had seen. When i say it i thought to myself, “Holy fuck, how did i not see that?” I was the “demo” guy since we didn’t have enough EOD in the area, so i went up to it, saw the pressure plate and wires. Dug it up and there is was. A battery with the battery acid all leaked out. They didn’t bury it deep enough, and it was the middle of summer.
About 130f out. Not good for the battery. Under the battery and pressure plate was a box, about the size of a footlocker filled with explosives and accelerant. If it had gone off my whole truck would have been dust. We had to do a controlled demo since EOD was busy, and after we took it out half the road had a 5 foot deep crater in it.”
5. Close call
“Pissing off a cliff, wasted on Jack Daniels. My girlfriend at the time pulled me back by my sweatshirt, or that would’ve been it.”
6. Swept away
“Climbed onto one of those underpasses that allow river water to flow through when I was like, 5. Got swept in the current and taken down the river. Only reason I survived is my dad saw my long hair barely under the current and jumped in to save me.”
7. Be careful with the laundry chute
“Playing with the laundry chute in my childhood home when I was around 5 years old. My cousins and I took turns dropping things down the chute while someone else stood at the bottom and dodged them. For the most part it was things like washcloths, stuffed animals, a clothing item, etc.
Just so happened that when I stood under the chute, my cousin dropped a 5 lb dumbbell down and I, expecting something harmless, didn’t get out of the way. That ended the game real quick. I now part my hair in a way that hides the bald spot scar on my head.”
8. Actually died
“I fell down my friends basement stairs when I was 8 (hit my head on the concrete floor) and ended up being airlifted to a major city hospital after being knocked out and still screaming. Ended waking up a couple days later and found out I was missing a tooth and I was told that as they were putting a breathing tube in, it knocked my tooth down my throat which scared the docs more. But I was super happy cause I payed melee for the first time in the game room and ate jellow for meals.
Turns out that I was actually in a comatose state and gradually got worse over 48 hours until I had 0 brain activity for about 6 minutes. So I guess I did die but I didn’t find out from my family till afterwards, because who tells an 8 yr old that they died.”
9. Big mistake
“3 years old. Love M&Ms. Find blue ones behind stove. Yum.
10. Toilet accident
“Carrying a toilet by myself after having painted the bathroom. Got caught up in the drop cloth and fell on the toilet smashing it and a piece of the porcelain cut into my knee. My father was there with me and immediately took me to the hospital as the bleeding was pretty decent.
The doctor told me that the piece missed an artery by 1/4” and that if I had been a smaller man I’d have bled out before I made it to the hospital. Being a very large man (6’2” and 350lbs at the time) saved my life.”
11. Joe vs. The Volcano
“I nearly fell into a f*cking volcano leaning on a rope fence
Edit: Holy sh*t this comment blew up. Right, more context, I was 8-9 at the time, and I managed to catch myself on that same fence after I nearly keeled over it (I never let go of stuff when I fall). This was in Italy, hence the lack of actual safety procedures.”
12. Skateboarding accident
“This was 13 years ago. I was skateboarding with some buddies at a busy shopping center. A few minutes before leaving, we were waiting at a crosswalk to cross the street. One of my friends takes off running across the crosswalk, and my other buddies follow suit. So I took off as well. I was not even paying attention to the light, but the lane crossing the crosswalk was on a green light.
My two friends in front were in the clear, but myself and one of my other friends were both hit by a Uhaul truck (yes really, trust me I got shit for YEARS about getting hit by a huge, bright orange truck) going probably 40-45mph. My friend in front of me didn’t get hit too bad. I got hit square in the chest. I had no clue at the time what even had happened. I was running, then I was on the ground in a daze, no pain, and I even got up and instinctually ran back to the sidewalk that I had come from. No clue I’d been hit by a truck, I was more just like what in the fuck just happened.
A nurse that was at the light came and helped me, told me what had happened and helped me stay calm. She asked if I was having trouble breathing. I was. But it was attributed to me having asthma. Later found out it was because both of my lungs were punctured.
Anyways, the ambulance shows up. I’m holding up very well, no clue why. Kinda just thinking okay damn I must have gotten super lucky. I’m conscious, talking fine, no biggie. They only had one bed in the ambulance, so my buddy was lying on it, and I was sitting hunched over on the bench for the ride (I wish I was joking). We get to the hospital, and I try to pull myself up to get out of the ambulance.
And I can’t, my shoulders hurt way too bad. The EMS guys tell me I probably dislocated my shoulder and that I’ll just have to get it popped in and before I know it I’ll be back home. Once inside, WE GET PUT IN THE WAITING ROOM. No I am not joking. We had skateboards with us, and the desk people had no clue. They assumed we just fell on our skateboards or something.
So I’m still feeling pretty good, other than some sore shoulders, just chilling there watching wheel of fortune. When all of a sudden I start feeling super clammy and disorientied. I remember hearing my mom screaming “HE’S GOING INTO SHOCK”, and then next thing I know I’m being wheeled down a bunch of hallways. It was like in shows where it’s a blur of those florescent lights just flashing overhead one at a time.
I start having severe pain. Like the worst pain you could imagine. But I can’t be given an painkillers yet, because I have to go through a bunch of tests first. I’d assume these tests should have been done right when I got there, but what do I know. The one I really remember is having to be picked up off of the bed and put onto one of the machines that required I be on my back. They had people grab each corner of the sheet from the bed that I was on to move me onto it. I remember it kind of squishing my shoulders inward a bit and holy shiiiiiiiiit that was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.
Anyways, after a ton of tests, it’s found out that both of my lungs are punctured. Both of my collar bones are snapped in half. Broken ribs. Cracked sternum. Concussion. The works. Ended up spending the next couple weeks in ICU.
They didn’t have any hospital beds open for me at the time so I actually ended up being transferred to a children’s hospital. It was fucking sweet. People came and sang to me and brought me teddy bears n shit. And I was just jacked up on morphine watching Lord of Rings all the time.
But yeah it was a pretty tough recovery, and I went from just hanging out with a smile on my face to a scary place real quick. I went to a world-renowned clavicle specialist at Duke Medical for my collar bones. He normally had an insanely long wait list, but apparently when he found out that I broke both at the same time he was willing to see me ASAP.
He told me that he’d only ever had a few patients that broke both at the same time, because the force required to do so almost always resulted in death. But eventually I got better, full recovery. Was a bit of a hypochondriac for a while, and was scared to cross the street for awhile. But other than that, no biggie.”
13. Always wear a helmet
“Not wearing a helmet while on a bicycle and stupidly turning left just as a car overtook me.
Somehow I only got a neat scar through my eyebrow and some torn up kneecaps from it. But the look on my mother’s face when she picked me up from the hospital…That made me realise how profoundly stupid I was that day.
Edit: I did make a turn signal with my arm, but the driver apparently didn’t see it. He later went over to the hospital to ask if I was OK and to apologise for hitting me.”
14. Tangled up
“Tubing behind a speedboat. Pulled myself too far forward. It submarined and popped up in the air. I was flung forward and got tangled in the towrope.”
15. The garage door
“Retensioning a garage door spring and the tension tool popped out. The door crashed with enough force to crack the pavement.
Edit: had no idea so many others have died doing this. Going forward would never do this again.”