There’s nothing quite like making a dumb decision and almost paying for it with your LIFE. These Redditors escaped some of the most ridiculous close calls imaginable. From harrowing accidental strangulations to drowning debacles, these cautionary tales are sure to send a chill down your spine.
1. Getting Lost Underwater
A friend and I were swimming, attacking a ship for a training exercise at night. We would swim from the pier pylon to a pylon underwater. We would take a breath, go under, push off, and swim to the next pylon, to the surface and then repeat. Then, disaster struck: My mask broke and I decided to swim with my eyes closed due to having contacts at the time.
I just kept swimming and felt like I missed the pylon. But when I went to slowly broach the surface, I realized something was seriously wrong. I found myself under the concrete above. I had no idea the pier was even built like that. I put my hands up and oriented myself. It looked dark in all directions but my gut told me to the right is where I’d come from.
After that, I stayed on the surface! Cheers!
2. A Different Kind Of Icy
I walked into a backroom freezer of a grocery store. The huge door was designed to close automatically. I knew this and went in and did what I was there to do. After 30 seconds, I couldn’t catch my breath. I thought maybe I was just working too hard, so I stopped and took several huge breaths, nothing. I felt like I was drowning out of water.
I had to move as quickly as I could back outside of the freezer and fell to my knees gasping when I got out. It was only afterward that I realized what had gone wrong. For some dumb reason, someone had left dry ice in a cart inside of the freezer…wide open. Dry ice removes oxygen out of the air in enclosed spaces. I almost passed from lack of oxygen and would have been an icicle when they found me. Don’t mess with dry ice.
3. The Accidental Asphyxiation
When I was 14 or 15, I found out about breathplay from some dumb adult comedy show we shouldn’t have been watching. I was curious and dumb so when I went to bed that night, I stuck my head inside my pillowcase with the pillow over my face and tied it on tightly with a bathrobe cord. Of course, my dumb idiot self couldn’t get it untied again.
I freaked out and was just going nuts pulling on any random bit of cord I could get my fingers into, trying to pull the pillow off, but all I was doing was compressing the knots down tighter. I remember feeling really dizzy and rapidly see-sawing between desperately sucking in hot wet breaths of carbon dioxide, and then just going completely still and feeling like I didn’t need to breathe anymore—as though I could just lie there peacefully…Then, all of a sudden, I’d be back to gasping for air again.
Somehow, I eventually wiggled enough slack out of the cord to be able to get one of the loops up over my chin so I could pull the pillow away from my mouth, and all I could do for a few minutes was just lay there and breathe. I will never forget how cold and wonderful that first breath of proper air was. I was so incredibly dumb.
4. A New Meaning To Freezing
I went to go visit a friend in Gloucester, Massachusetts in the dead of winter. I was planning on staying overnight at their house, but their mother who I now know has mental health problems wouldn’t even let me in the house because the father ”wasn’t home,” working a night shift. My friend said, “Sorry bro,” and closed the door.
I almost froze to death waiting outside. That night, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. A cab driver saw me slumped on a bench and woke me up. He let me get warm and allowed me to hang out in the passenger seat while he picked up intoxicated people all night. When he finished his shift, he dropped me off at the train station and handed me seven bucks for the fare.
The dude probably saved my life and I can’t even remember his name.
5. Didn’t See You There
I was in the second or third grade. I was getting off the school bus and was walking around to the other side of my driveway. Suddenly, the bus driver hit the horn, scared the heck out of me, and I stopped at the edge of the front of the bus. What I saw made my jaw drop. A recklessly-driven dump truck sped right by me and was this close to squashing me.
I don’t know if the dump truck driver didn’t see the lights of the bus or whatever, but that driver made a dumb mistake that could have cost me my life. Now that I think about it, my older sister was up at our driveway waiting for me. That probably would have messed her up for life. After that, the school district changed bus routes to avoid students having to cross the road to get on or off the bus.
6. Missed The Mark
In my early teens, a bunch of us kids would get super stoned and boogie board down the local river. The river was probably a class three at its gnarliest and an easy class two for the majority of the float. Well, anyway, the first time we went down the river, a massive maple had uprooted and fallen directly perpendicular into the river.
It looked super cool, so my plan was to paddle over to the crown of it and climb atop it when I got close. Well, I missed my mark and headed towards the trunk instead. BIG MISTAKE. The water was much too deep to do any jumping and the speed had picked up around the tree. I crashed into the trunk and my body was pinned directly under the trunk.
I remember being able to reach my hands out of the water. I could see the water line but physically could not unpin my body. Luckily, my friend was a ways back and saw everything. He successfully jumped atop the crown, ran down the trunk to where my arms were flailing out of the water, and pulled my body up and over. We both crashed into the water on the other side and he paddled us to shore.
7. The Overestimated Athletic Abilities
I was at Lake Bled in Slovenia and thought I could easily swim the distance between the shore and the island in the middle with the church on it. Boy was I wrong. About halfway, I started getting exhausted and had trouble staying afloat. Then, my body kicked into survival mode, the adrenaline started pumping, and I Michael Phelps’d it the rest of the way to the island.
I ended up paying five euros to have a boat take me back to shore after that harrowing experience.
8. Trying To Understand The Appeal
I stuck my head out the car window because I wanted to see why dogs loved it. My grandpa didn’t notice, rolled up the window, and I choked. He freaked out when he heard the cat-like noises I was making while my neck was trying to squeeze through the small opening of the window. But, he kept raising the window in his panic. Eventually, he got it and I was left with a red mark on my neck and no closer to understanding dogs.
9. Air Guitar Turned Seatbelt Guitar
When I was 16, I was in the backseat of my buddy’s car on the way home from the beach. We were goofing around listening to Blink 182 and I decided I was going to turn my air guitar into a seatbelt guitar. Obviously, I do the ol’ guitar behind my back thing and suddenly I have created this wonderful loop around my neck. Stupid move, but also, I had the worst timing in the history of mankind.
I get my head in the loop right as my friend brakes hard. The seatbelt locked and I knew I was in trouble. Because I had stretched it to max length, the belt would not release from my neck and I slowly passed out as my friends panicked as to what to do. I eventually woke up, my friends bent my neck down and around the seatbelt leaving an enormous bruise around my neck.
10. Caught In The Headlights
I got super baked, like super-super, so stupid baked I could barely move. I don’t know what was in that joint, but it was definitely more than weed. I was in the backseat of a car with my friend Roland, in the front seat was another friend, driving. A car broke down on a dark, single-lane road at night, smack dab in the middle of the roadway. We’re at a dead stop on a truck route and it’s pitch-black out.
Through the back window, we see headlights approaching, and fast. It’s a semi and he can’t see us because the car is dead, there are no lights, and it’s really, really dark out. The headlights were much bigger now, and the truck had seen us. The driver is blowing his air horn. It looks like we’re gonna get hit. The driver of the car quickly exits the car, running.
I’m watching the headlights approaching, mesmerized at how bright they are, paralyzed by the beauty. Roland, sitting next to me, must be doing the same because he’s also frozen. God was looking out for stoners that night because the truck managed to go around us at a high rate of speed, the air horn blowing, doppler effect going strong.
Our friend who was driving comes back to the car and berates us, “Why didn’t you get out?” That broke the spell, but I didn’t know how to answer.
11. The Sweet Treat Of Skittles
I almost met my demise by choking on Skittles. When I was like 11 years old, I was home alone one day during the summer, just watching TV while eating Skittles. I liked to put a bunch in my mouth and make like a Skittle ball that I would chew on. Something on the show I was watching made me laugh and I swallowed the ball, which got lodged in my throat.
I then experienced a few seconds of sheer terror because I realized that there was nobody there to help me at all and I was probably gonna lose my life. Thankfully, I remembered some cartoon or movie where someone jammed their stomach on a chair and got something unstuck from their throat. So, I lunged at the corner of the recliner as hard as I could with my stomach.
It actually worked and popped the small ball out. It was super lucky because I really had no idea what I was doing, but it was one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. I definitely never ate Skittles that way again after that and, to this day, I’m still a bit paranoid about eating certain things when I’m all alone.
12. Curiosity Almost Kills The Cat
When I was a kid, I dipped my toes into a flooded creek to “see how it felt.” I proceeded to get sucked into the said creek and nearly washed away. Thankfully, the creek had some overgrown areas, and I was able to cling to a tree in the middle of the floodwater and scream for help. This happened directly behind my house, so my dog heard me, alerted my dad, and my dad managed to rescue me. But that’s not what haunts me.
What makes this extra stupid was that I was trying to prevent my friend at the time from doing the same thing. He wanted to “surf” down the creek on a snow-sled. I was following him, telling him it was a bad idea, and then like an idiot, I ended up in the creek instead. He was also upset at me afterward for ruining his “stunt.” Kids are really stupid, I guess.
13. What Are The Chances?
I didn’t look before I crossed the street. I walked backward while talking to my friend and got hit by a van. I wasn’t wearing my medic alert bracelet to warn the paramedics and hospital that I’m allergic to demorol, because “it looks dumb and gets caught on my backpack, besides what are the chances I’d ever be given that?”
The chances, it turns out, are pretty good if you get hit by a van going full speed hard enough to nearly rip your foot off at the ankle. I survived. It took seven surgeries to patch me back up. I was even comatose for a little bit. I had to have some blood transfusions and massive amounts of physiotherapy. Always look both ways and wear your medic alerts folks!
14. Heart-Stopping Mistakes
I tried unplugging the washing machine with wet hands. Dumbest idea ever—and it could’ve cost me my life. My hand slipped onto the prongs while they were still partially in the outlet, and I think my heart stopped for a second before I yanked the plug free. I definitely do not recommend it. I could’ve saved myself a huge scare if I’d only taken time to dry off my hands.
15. The Most Committed Pullup
I had some experience snowboarding and went with some friends up a black diamond run. I was scared to fall so I would squat so I would have less distance to fall. Little did I know, this actually makes you go faster. So anywho, I took a massive tumble. For a second or two, I felt weightless…and then my hand caught what I thought was a branch.
When the snow cleared, my hand was wrapped up in a red safety net and I was hanging about four stories off the mountain. That was the most committed pullup of my life. They were great times.
16. The Absolutely Useless Boyfriend
I choked on a small potato at the Pizza Hut salad bar. It was completely lodged in my throat. I raced to the loo and shoved my fingers down my throat, and it popped out. I walked back to my table and finished my salad. For context, I was with my boyfriend. He did nothing. I grabbed the waitress’ arm. All she did was say, “Is she okay?” to my boyfriend.
Hence why I was running to the loo to deal with it myself!
17. Right In The Deep End
My homie’s autistic brother was in the deep end of a wave pool without floaties and he couldn’t swim. So, he called for help and I jumped in. As I was trying to swim with one hand and carry him with the other, I heard the siren for the big wave that happens every few minutes. So, I tried to quickly swim away, but it caught up and pushed us under.
I accidentally tried to breathe and that put quite a bit of water in me. Just then, I felt someone grab me and pull me out of the water. It was my homie. He also grabbed his brother. So, after I threw up a bunch of water and rested a bit, I realized that I almost met my demise in a wave pool.
18. Off The Sidewalk And Back Again
I was riding my bike to either the school or the supermarket, I can’t remember. I was maybe 12 or 13 years old. In my town, you can’t really ride a bike on the street, so I had to use the sidewalk. On my way, I had to ride across a bus stop with a ton of people just blocking the way for me and my bike. So, I decided to hop onto the street, and up onto the sidewalk again later.
Those people were blocking my view, so I didn’t see a bus coming my way. I just barely hopped onto the sidewalk and the bus missed me by a few centimeters. After that, I didn’t really understand what had happened. A few hours later, it hit me that this could have ended rather badly for me.
19. Croissant First, Life Second
There’s a shopping mall near where I live and I was pushing one of those metal shopping carts since the shopping mall has two supermarkets. There was one on the second floor and another right below it. I usually go to the one on the second floor and go to the one below it. Well, I ended up buying a lot of groceries on the second floor and I usually take the escalator to go to the supermarket downstairs since it’s faster.
With a heavy cart in one hand and a croissant in the other, I attempted to go down the escalator and I literally almost fell down the escalator with the cart. My sister saved me cause she grabbed my arm in time. I almost lost my life because of a croissant. That would have been a very shameful passing, indeed.
20. Rolled Right On Over
I used to have a jeep with a bad ignition switch, meaning the key wouldn’t start it when turned. I would have to turn the key on and crawl under the truck with a screwdriver to jump the starter. One night, I was leaving a buddy’s place where we were all hanging out in the garage. Apparently, I had left the jeep in drive without knowing, which caused it to start moving forward as soon as it started.
The underside cut me up pretty bad, but the rear axle was what almost really harmed me. Thankfully, a buddy heard me screaming and came out to shut the jeep off just as the rear axle was pushing on the back of my head and folding me up. Also, I’m a mechanic. I should have just fixed the ignition switch when I had the chance.
21. Charging Full Speed Ahead
I was playing manhunt. It was dark out as we were at our hunting camp. I was running and went full speed into a stone fire pit ring because there was no fire, so I couldn’t see it. I blacked out for a few seconds, but when I opened my eyes, my stomach dropped. I looked up to see a rusty nail about an inch-and-a-half from my face.
It was a few inches long at least. I don’t want to think what would have happened if my skull fell on it…
22. It’s Always Just Gas
I waited over a week with stomach pains in college, thinking it was gas or something. It got so bad that I couldn’t sleep but still waited all night to go to Urgent Care when they opened the next morning, instead of going to the ER. They told me it was my appendix and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I didn’t want to cause a scene and elected to drive to the ER.
I got to the ER and vomited in their trash can. I was in surgery within 20 minutes. Afterward, I was in the hospital for two weeks with an NG tube and catheter. Everyone said I almost passed.
23. Rebar Right Down The Pipe
To set the stage, I had just finished watching all the violent scenes from the Final Destination movies, many of them involving rebar. In a plumbing class, I was under the “house” and trying to help the group figure out which hole we were dropping our waste line down. I shined a flashlight up the right hole and they acknowledged. Before I could get out, someone dropped a bunch of rebar down the hole to mark it.
It hit me right below the solar plexus and I laughed so hard when it bounced up.
24. A Joke Almost Becomes Reality
I went to the Grand Canyon and tried to be funny and acted like I was gonna slip—but the joke turned into a nightmare in a single instant. It was snowing and I ended up almost slipping for real and falling off the edge. It was a terrifyingly close call. Some random guy scolded me like a little kid because he got more scared than me.
25. Always More Bagel Bites
I almost asphyxiated on Trader Joe’s bagel bites today. The melty cheese basically Spiderman-web-blasted itself over my windpipe opening. After I partially recovered, I almost tweeted, “This can’t be how I pass,” but I still had more bagel bites to eat and didn’t want to tempt fate.
26. Always The Americans
I flew into Amsterdam from the US to meet with friends for a Europe trip. I was on Google Maps looking up where the Airbnb was, jamming out with my headphones and getting hyped up. The next thing I know, some dude tackles me to the ground. I’m obviously super mad, but quickly realize there’s a tram whizzing by about a few feet from me.
I had no clue Amsterdam had these things, let alone that they run right through pedestrian-dense areas. He gets up, says, “You stupid American,” and walks away. What an absolute hero.
27. Always Check The Roads
I’m Italian but have been living in the UK for two years. Guess who looked at the wrong side of the road while a bus was coming through? Every time I went back to Italy, I risked my life for the same reason by getting used to driving to the left and vice versa. Every time I switched sides it messed with my head so badly—I almost always got into a serious accident.
28. Cracked Right Open
I stood on a stack of lawn chairs and the back legs of the bottom of the chair gave way. I fell with the chairs and cracked the back of my head open on the pavement below. I blacked out several times on the way to the hospital and have very little memory of the actual event. The doctor somehow glued his thumb to my laceration and yanked it off, causing the most unimaginable pain ever.
The next few months were a complete blur. I have absolutely no recollection of what happened. Only that while in school, some idiot threw a Lego brick at me and hit my injury, and oh my God, did that hurt. I cried. I stood on something I shouldn’t have, promptly fell, and almost passed. I somehow avoided brain damage too…I think anyway.
29. A Natural Ability Disappears
I forgot how to swallow. A couple of years back, it was a normal day and I’m reading a book and had a cup of tea next to me that I’d sort of forgotten about. I took a huge mouthful of tea and, don’t ask me how, but I suddenly couldn’t remember how to swallow. It just sort of triggers semi-automatically normally, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to make it “go.”
So, I’m sitting there for like 30 seconds like an utter lemon and I figure maybe knocking my head back to send it down my throat might trigger it. That was a bad idea. A couple of minutes later, after I recovered from my attempt to drown myself on dry land, my ability to swallow miraculously reappeared from wherever it had sodded off too.
30. Taking A Dangerous Breather
When I was a kid, I used to breathe in the exhaust fumes from our Volvo whenever I had the chance. One cold morning, I snuck out to smell the fumes before my dad left for work. He didn’t know I was behind the car and reversed the car over me. I made it out with bruises and burns only.
31. The Worst Delivery Ever
I just had a cherry picker that was 871 pounds tip over four inches off my trailer edge to the loading dock and absolutely crushed me. I was the only person around and spent the longest five seconds of my life with almost 900 pounds crushing my back into my knees, thinking, “This is exactly how people die under vending machines,” before I mustered up all my strength and rolled out from under it. I didn’t end up getting paid for that delivery.
32. Mule On The Loose
I was taking the mule trip down the canyon and I was two mules behind my brother. His saddle on the mule was loose. He kind of slid to the side while going down a narrower path, but that’s when disaster struck: The mule gave him a good kick. He kept his grip on the saddle horn, but a good half of him was literally hanging over the edge of the canyon.
33. The Pre-Workout Plug Up
I took pre-workout by pouring the scoop directly into my mouth, then attempted to wash it down with the kitchen sink. The water was hot, so I gasped water and powder into my throat, forming a plug. I couldn’t breathe and even started seeing things. I had to walk outside and have my roommate Heimlich me. Purple goo got onto the lawn!
34. What’s Under The Hood?
I left a rag under my hood to keep it open while working on the car, forgetting about the rag and hood. I got up to a windy freeway and the hood flew up and blocked 95% of my visibility. There were about five seconds that I could not see at all while I was pressing the brake. I was able to see under the crack between the hood and the windshield and pull over. It completely scared me.
35. Squeeze It On Out
I choked on an ice cube when I was seven. I was around a lot of people but no one noticed. I didn’t know what to do. I was freaking out and I couldn’t yell out for help. At one point, I remember squeezing my throat really, really hard and then it came out. I had no idea if the squeezing helped or if it just happened to get smaller because of my body heat. It really scared me though. Mom didn’t believe me. She told me I was fine.
36. An Accident Of The Inner Ankle
I cut my inner ankle on a glass cup. For those who don’t know, an artery is there and I literally sliced through it. I almost bled out. Thankfully I didn’t, though!
37. Hazards Of The Job
I was nearly impaled on a flagpole. My job in sixth grade at my school was as a flag person. I would take down the flag and put up the flag. I was short, so I climbed up to do it. There was a mechanism attached to the pole that was in the shape of a dull spike. I fell and it got under my shirt and barely missed the bottom of my head.
38. The Current Continues On
The glass bulb of a light bulb broke off one of the ones in my parents’ basement, so I, being an idiot, turned the lights on and grabbed the remainder of the bulb to unscrew it. I became frozen in place with the current now running through me. I thought to myself, “Well, this is it.” Somehow, I was able to let go after what felt like an eternity.
I approach any job with electricity very differently these days.
39. The Increased Sodium Intake
When I was in middle school, my teacher said that if you consume large amounts of salt in a short span of time, you will die. I didn’t believe him, so I dissolved three cups of salt in water and tried consuming it in 10 minutes as an experiment. Pure idiocy. Luckily, I thought it tasted bad, so I stopped. Otherwise, I would’ve drunk the whole thing.
40. The Body Turns Against You
My period was almost fatal. I never knew you could honestly bleed like that, but I bled so heavy for three months that it put me in the hospital. I had to have 11 units of blood put in me before and after my hysterectomy. I was bleeding faster than they could put the blood in me.
41. Over The Ridge And Into The Ice
I fell through the ice. The great lakes freeze partially in the winter. Far out there was an ice ridge, and on the other side was this clear glassy ice as far out as I could see. I climbed over the ridge to take a leak in privacy, but it wasn’t solid. I went right through. My wife had to put down our first infant son to fish me out.
42. When Bad Goes To Worse
I was stuck in the mud in a Honda CRX. I had my wife try to drive while I pushed and we were getting nowhere. I went to knock on the back windshield and tell her to stop. My hand went through the window severing three tendons, a nerve, and an artery. This was almost 30 years ago and I still remember the call from the sheriff the next day.
“Everyone ok? That’s a lot of blood.” I responded, “Yeah, it’s mine. I think I am going to make it.” What a horrible day.
43. The Slip Totally Socked
I was going down the wooden stairs at my parent’s house wearing socks. I slipped on the last step and banged my head on the wall. I woke up around three hours later with a dog by my side desperately licking my ear. I never told my parents.
44. Only One Drop Away
I was taking apart a dryer completely to clean it out and get it running smoothly again and dropped a screwdriver onto an exposed wire. There was a huge arc and zap sound. I had left it plugged in, up until I realized the incredibly stupid move I had pulled.
45. I’ll Never Lego, Jack
I got one of those connector Legos with the hole in it stuck in my throat and every breath and noise I made was just a slight whistle. I was maybe five, so I had no clue what to do and I put my fingers down my throat to get it out.
46. Life Verses Hiccups
I started hiccuping with peanut butter in my mouth. Peanut butter went down the wrong tube, I started choking, but couldn’t cough it out because the hiccups wouldn’t stop. I finally leaned over and managed to cough it out, but it was a close call.
47. Race To The Bottom
I was at a Waterpark in Texas with one of those super tall, super steep slides. They had multiple signs saying things like, “Do not push off before sliding down!” Me—being an 18-year-old idiot and wanting to race my friend—I decided to push off. That extra push started my slow-motion, airborne flight over the slide. I was then staring many feet down at concrete and my other friend who had his jaw open.
What felt like minutes later, I smacked back down onto the slide and made my way down to the bottom. Thank God for the engineers that planned for idiots like myself.
48. Make Your Leaf Piles Yourself
I used to enjoy jumping into piles of leaves as a child. Then, when I was 28, I was visiting my mum and she had a pile of leaves in the yard. So, for fun, I jumped into the pile of leaves only to be met with the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my life. The leaves were hiding a bear trap that my elderly mother had placed that morning to try and catch a skunk.
79 stitches and a broken arm that was almost amputated because of how bad the break was, this doubles as a PSA to only jump in leaf piles you have made yourself.
49. Always Listen To Your Spouse
I waited too long to go to the hospital because I thought I just had a cold. My husband said, “Go to the doctor,” while I said, “No.” Three days later, I was still not great. My husband said, “Go to urgent care,” while I said I would if I didn’t feel better tomorrow. The next day, I tell my husband that I need to go to the ER. It turned out to be a collapsed lung due to pneumonia.
I spent three days in the hospital plus had breathing issues for the next year. The moral of the story is to listen to your spouse. And yeah, I got a whole lot of “I told you so”s. I deserved every one of them.
50. Up Against A Wall
I was at a Pink Floyd concert at the old Tampa Stadium and was going to get a drink. I got crushed against a wall at the bottom of a stairway when a rush of people came up the breezeway. I couldn’t move or breathe when probably 100 or more people got into a log jam. I’m not a big person so I started to panic. I looked up and a guy looked over the rail above me. He started yelling at me to reach for his hand.
He leaned way over and grabbed my hand and pulled me up. It was up a few feet and over the rail. It took a few minutes to get a breath. He had the security guy get the medic to check me over. It was freakily close to a very bad ending.