What's The Closest You've Ever Been To Death?

Title says it all. What is the closest you have ever come to dying, whether it be from medical reasons, near-misses, accidents, crime, etc.

My most oddball one was in the 1990’s. I was driving on I-95 in Northern Virginia at about 70mph and I’m seeing…something on the interstate coming towards me. I finally realize with growing horror that its a large tire, bouncing directly at my car at a seemingly high rate of speed. Just as I get ready to brace for impact, it hit the road just in front of my car and bounced right over it. It was crazy and over in a second. I didn’t really get a chance to see where it went after that.

I can only imagine if that thing had hit directly onto my windshield what could have happened.

About fifteen years ago I misjudged an overtaking manouevre at ~100 km/h on a country road and scraped back to the right lane with some tens of centimetres to spare to the oncoming car (the driver of which had to brake hard). I might not only have killed myself but, more importantly, several other people as well. I drove on, pulled over at the next opportunity, puked into a ditch.

Since then, when in doubt, I chose to arrive a few minutes later rather than overtake in marginal cases.

Similar to story to the OPs, but instead of a bouncing tire, it was a bouncing PICKUP TRUCK. Being a left lane hogger :p, I managed to get my VW bug three lanes to the right, just missing getting squashed. Several witnesses told me they figured I was a dead man. :eek:

The same thing happened to me. I noticed a cloud of dust on the opposite side of the road–a truck was skidding onto the shoulder in a cloud of dust, and tire was bouncing towards me. It hopped the 3-foot median divider and was headed right for me. I was going about 45mph and I had to decide: which way would it bouch next? I waited until the last second and veered right; the tire flew by my window, close enough to touch.

I didn’t have any time to think about that one. But I had lots of time to think about the 3 melanomas I’ve had removed–both before and after. I’m not sure how close I’ve been to death any of those times, but I’m way more scared of cancer than of flying truck tires.

I was 21. Was home visiting my family with my first wife. My older brother had just purchased a new motorcycle and I borrowed it. It was quite a bit larger then any motorcycle I had ever been on before. But hey I was a young man who thought I could handle anything right?

The thing is my parents front yard faced a pretty major highway with lots of big trucks racing down it at 70 mph. So my wife and my mom are sitting on the front porch, I start the motorcycle and pull out of the driveway. A diesel is coming down the road at 70 mph and since it is a much bigger bike then I was used to I really didn’t have it under control. I had swung wide into the oncoming lane and the motorcycle still wasn’t under my control.

There is a moment on a motorcycle where you know it is going to tip on its side or you can recover. I was at that moment with a diesel coming at me at 70 mph.

Luckily I was able to pull it up and zip right into my lane and went up the road and back. Also luckily both my wife and mom were totally oblivious to how close they had come to see me being smashed/mangled/crushed under a 18 wheeler! I know the trucker saw me because I could see it in his eyes–that ‘oh shit’ moment. That was over 30 years ago and I can still remember it.

When I was hit on my bicycle some years back. Back of my thigh degloved, part of the hamstring torn away and I lost over(estimated) half my blood volume at the scene.

The paramedics didn’t think I would survive for the helicopter and even after arriving at the trauma center, I was touch and go for three days. I was transfused with 70-75 units of blood in the first 48 hours.

I’ve got a few…

It was about 1AM and I was on my way home from work (late night of sales) and my car was almost opened like a can of sardines against an 18 wheeler who was paying no attention at all when I was coming off a clover-shaped exit ramp. That was scary and I pulled over and started vomiting. A cop stopped (and after a sobriety check) and asked me what happened… the next day there was a report of a similar semi running off the road into some woods (where the driver was fatally wounded) in the same area. I’m not sure if it’s the same semi, but it still scares the shit out of me to this day.

I had a firearm explode, out of battery, in my hand. I don’t think I was close to death, but 50 years ago I likely would’ve lost my hand (and 10 years ago would’ve lost function in my left index finger) and potentially lost my life to gangrene or something similar.

I flipped a 4 wheeler when I was 9 and almost decapitated myself (and almost impaled myself).

I wrecked my car on a country road, I came around a curve too quickly, hydroplaned, couldn’t stop for the intersection and went straight into a ditch. Luckily there were no cars coming and I (and my passengers) were alright, but that could’ve lead to us being tboned or tboning someone, which could’ve been fatal.

I’ve flipped, wrecked, mangled or destroyed anything with a motor at least once in my lifetime (including boats and jetskis), and if it’s got four feet I’ve been thrown off of it or been kicked by it at some point or another.

You two are pretty lucky!

Todderbob, I would recommend that you stay home in bed for the rest of your life. :smiley:

Flight 191, Chicago O’Hare 1979 took off (and crashed) immediately after the plane I was on.

On the plane, we were not told. People who met me at my destination were very freaked out, they heard about the crash on the way to get me and figure it was my plane.

Goddam DC-10s . . . .

Last weekend, my husband and I were crossing a busy road in a crosswalk - the first truck didn’t stop for us, we proceeded to cross after he blew by us, then as we were in the second lane (so traffic had PLENTY of time to register pedestrians in the crosswalk), a mini-van was barrelling down on us - he didn’t see us in the crosswalk. I saw he wasn’t stopping so I shouted to my husband and ran ahead, my husband ran back, the driver stopped and apologized, we yelled at him, then went on our way. I don’t know if we would both have been killed, but he would have fucked us up pretty good - we were DIRECTLY in front of his van.

Back when I was a drunk, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I wasn’t about to admit to my drinking to my doctor, so on top of the medication she prescribed I took it upon myself to go on a very low-sodium diet. I took it too far, and after a year or so I wound up in the emergency room with what turned out to be a sodium deficiency. I wound up in the hospital for a few days, but my memory of the incident is pretty spotty. They told me later I very well could have died.

All in all, though, this is probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. This was the event that led me to stop drinking. It’s been almost six years now.

Crossing the street in India.

I was driving along in my Dodge Colt (little hatchback made by Mitsubishi for Dodge in the 80s) and the light ahead of me turned yellow. So, being the aggressive college driver, I hit the gas to get get through before it turned red. Just as I am entering the intersection, a Chrysler K-Car decides to make a left in front of me into the donut shop on the opposite corner. There are 4 lanes separating me from the Chrysler and I am doing 45 mph. And did I mention the roads were wet from rain a short while earlier.

You ever hear about time slowing down during an incident? Well, I experienced it then! My body went to full emergency panic mode and dumped about a gallon of adrenaline into my bloodstream! By my calculations after the incident, I had approximately 1 second to impact in which to react.

My first reaction was hit the brakes. No go. I could feel the tires sliding on the wet pavement (no ABS system). I am now halfway across the intersection. Ok, that ain’t gonna work. What now? So, I then yanked the wheel left (thank Og for front wheel drive) into the oncoming left turn lane and went around the back end of the Chrysler, missing by a few inches and then yanked the car back into the correct lane so as to avoid any oncoming cars!

I pulled over to the side of the road afterwards with my heartrate at about 200! My friend who was behind me in his VW bug pulls up (he stopped for the red light) and he was like “I thought for sure you were going to hit that car”. I had 2 or 3 passengers in the car as well and they were in a total state of shock as well.

Over 20 years later, that incident is clear in my mind including all the thoughts which went through my head in the 1 second I had to react to the incident. I figure I would have had the engine in my lap if I had actually hit that car as I would have T-boned it right between the doors.

I served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years, but it was between major wars (immediately after Vietnam and prior to 9/11.) I was involved in combat operations and have been shot at, but given the specifics it was actually very unlikely the people shooting at me would have ever had much of a clear shot and even if they did, they had horrific marksmanship. Based on the pure numbers from my engagements the % chance of death was very low. Even the modern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have very low fatality percentages and in Panama and the Persian Gulf War the fatality rate was much lower per 100,000 soldiers in theater.

Despite all that rationale, it is hard to say that I’ve ever been closer to death than times when I was being directly fired upon, even though intellectually I recognize the enemy had very small chance of hitting me and less of killing me, the chance was certainly there.

So I’d probably say the closest was an incident drunk driving when I was 17. I was on a country road going near 70 and just went off the road. I was so drunk that my car, going 70 mph + had already completely gone through a small wooded area and I was in a pasture before I was able to react and stop the vehicle. When I looked back at the path I had taken through the woods, if I had been just a small bit left or right I’d have hit large trees at various spots, straight on going 70 mph + in a 1960s era death trap miles from civilization I very seriously doubt I’d have survived.

I’ve had 2 brushes with death that I know of.

The first time was when I was born. I was nearly a month late (mom knows exactly when she got pregnant), she only dilated 2cm during labor, I got squished, over 24 hours after mom’s water broke the shifts changed in the hospital and the doc that delivered me started his shift, saw what was going on and went “WTF?” and delivered me. I inhaled meconium, my Apgars were 1 and 0. My grandparents, who were on their way to Florida for a vacation, had to turn around and come back because they’d been told both mother and baby probably weren’t going to make it. (Mom’s BP went through the roof during labor and she thinks she had a small stroke.) I did a few weeks in the NICU and came out no worse for the wear save for a (very) mild case of cerebral palsy.

The second time was when I was 3 and came down with salmonella. Mom kept taking me to the ER, they kept blowing her off because I didn’t have a fever. About a week later she took me, listless and severely dehydrated, to our family doctor, who got on the phone and cussed out the hospital and got them to admit me. According to him, I would have been dead by the following morning. I was so sick that I didn’t even fight the ER doctors when they were jabbing me with IV needles.

I’m still kickin’, thanks be to God (and a couple of doctors who used the brains He gave 'em)

Due to a botched stomach surgery, my stomach ripped itself open in the middle of the night in 05. The surgeon swears he had “outside” help in saving my life.

You reminded me of a near miss I had going the other way - I was driving my car down a highway one windy summer day when I drove past a highway worker truck. He didn’t have any signs or lights on - just a pick-up stopped at the side of the highway. I didn’t think too much about it and didn’t slow down much because you don’t slow down for every pickup you pass on the side of the highway (at least, I didn’t then), when the highway worker’s hard hat blew off his head and across the highway, and he went after it without looking for traffic first (and I was coming up alongside his truck and he was in front of it). He saw me, I saw him, I swerved, he pulled back, I missed him by about a foot at 60 mph. I don’t know which of us was more shaken up.

That happened really early on in my driving career (I was about 19), and I’m glad it did - a near miss like that tells you all you need to know about how fucking serious driving is, and how careful you have to be not to do damage with that powerful machine you’re operating.

I accidentally swallowed an inch-and-a-half long dressmakers pin. By the time someone arrived to do an endoscopy to remove it from my stomach, it had passed into my intestines. The sent me home from the hospital about an hour later, and told me to take my temperature frequently, and if it spiked, get right back to the hospital, because it could tear open my intestines and easily kill me.

It eventually passed all the way through harmlessly.

I’ve posted this before:

I was walking down the steps that led from the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite park. (These are the falls that have a railing at the top, next to the flowing water disappearing over the lip of the falls, with a sign that says, “If you step in this water you will die.”)

The steps of the trail were irregular and partly covered in sand. There was no railing against the chasm to my right. I slipped on a step and landed on my butt, almost sliding over the edge. After a moment of surprise and catching of breath, I got up on my hands and knees. I looked over the edge at the water far below as it foamed amidst rocks the size of Volkswagens and houses. If I had slipped just a little more, I would have gone over the edge and died.