People Share Their Scariest "A Second Later And I Would've Died" Stories


There is probably an alternate universe where we are all dead.

The times each of us have narrowly avoided something crazy like being hit by a car or something could probably fill a log book. And if that parallel universe theory is true, there's a second we hesitated to make a decision...and then it was curtains.

Fun to think about, but terrifying, right?

u/spacexe asked:

What was your scariest "A second later and I would've died" moment?

Here were some of those stories.

Welcome To The Hollywood Tower Hotel

My friend and I were taking an elevator down to the cafeteria in our dorm in college. For some reason, we were arguing about something when the doors opened, so we hung back for a second.

Then the elevator dropped two floors with the doors open.

I still hate getting in/out of elevators and I do a weird running start every time.

Edit: happened in Canada, was an old building/elevator (<1950s)

Second Edit: We were in the elevator when it dropped. More terrified of the "getting sliced in half" aspect than the drop.


Stranger Danger

I can not confirm whether this would have been death however it would have changed my and my parents life like death. I was about 6 or 7 and I went along with my mum to go train the new puppy we had. The training ground was quite far away from home and I remember that it was a big field surrounded by a forest and a motorway on the side of it. I was told to stay in the car and play on my gameboy (back when they were a thing lol).

After an hour or so I got bored and I went to have a look at where my mum was with our puppy. The carpark was a little while from the training ground but I decided to walk towards her anyway. In the meantime an older man (30ish) starts talking to me and the naive little boy I was I talked back (regardless of all the times my mum told me to NOT TALK TO STRANGERS).

He convinced me I was going the wrong way and told me he would take me to my mum and puppy. We ended up by the motorway side and we were about to walk down the bank to the side of the motorway where his car was parked. As I am about to disappear down the bank I hear the loudest scream of my name from my mum, I look back and feel the grip of the man tighten on my hand but I was just in time to get my hand out of his grip and run towards my mother. My mum runs past me to see where this guy is but he had just got into his car and drove off. To this day I still imagine about the what if scenario and how close I was to being kidnapped and potentially killed.


Do Not Race A Train

When I was in junior high I was car pooling with another kid and her mom. For a reason I can't fathom she decided to race a transit train hoping to get across the tracks before the train stopped traffic. She gunned the car. I was in the back seat screaming NO. She hit the train. Because I was in the back seat I was injured the least. I had a pointy piece of metal pierce through my jeans and flesh until it hit bone. Had she been a second faster the train would have hit us broad side and killed us all.

Edit To answer the questions. This was 1980. She was not charged or sued. It was labelled an accident. She and her daughter suffered broken bones, lacerations and concussions. Because of the parental acrimony I couldn't be friends with the girl anymore. The family moved away before the end of the school year. I know at the time her mum was still not working. I'm not sure if she ever went back to work. Clearly she had or had developed some kind of mental or emotional problem which the accident probably made worse. I wondered if she was an alcoholic who began day drinking, but I never mentioned my suspicion to anyone. I needed crutches for a few months.


Quick Onset, And The End

When I was in middle school I called my mom on my cell during lunch because my head hurt so badly I couldn't move (she was 1 on speed dial). Well the nurse came and brought me to the office for a check up and some pain pills while I waited for my mom (we didn't live close). Nurse said no fever, and to take me home and put me to bed. My mom watched me get into the truck and decided that maybe we should go to the hospital to be safe. By the time we reached the hospital (it was further then our home) my temp was at 104 and I was incapacitated. I had meningitis. If we went home and she put me to bed like the nurse suggested, I never would have woken up.

Edit for detail: For those who keep asking/speculating it was Viral Meningitis (the less severe form) but it progressed very quickly. I had no headache when I arrived at school. By lunch time I couldn't move on my own and I couldn't see because light was too bright. The nurse came to get me and I didn't have a fever. After waiting for my mom 10 minutes and the 20 minute drive to the hospital and 10 minute wait at the hospital it was at 104. Yes we told the nurse after, but there was only some of the symptoms when I left school. She never gave me or my mother advice again, just told symptoms and gave pain meds.


This Is Why We Don't Drive On Drugs

A couple months ago I was in a head on collision with some dude on crack driving down the wrong side of the road with his headlights out. I was going probably around 50 before I saw him (speed limit was 55 so that's my best guess.) saw him with a second or two of reaction time, managed to brake hard and swerve over only bad enough to total my car, but I still walked away with nothing more than a sore neck. If I hadn't seen the dude I don't doubt that I could've died or been seriously injured.


How Do You Even Zone Out Like This

I was freshman in college and came back to my hometown for fall break. I decided to go to a football game to hang out with some old friends. On the way home, I stopped at a red light and when it turned green, I pulled forward, as usual.

From the left, a truck suddenly hit me. He was speeding and ran the red light, t-boned me right in front of my driver's door. I luckily got out with just an injured knee and fractured clavicle and some bruising.

It haunted me for a while that, had I pulled forward just a little faster or he had been just a quarter second slower he would've gone straight into my driver's door and I likely wouldn't have made it.

He wasn't even drunk or under the influence, it was just a 16-year-old kid not paying attention.


Thank Goodness You're The Smart One

I was working on a pipe crew in 1998, we were installing a large concrete vault in a pretty big hole. I'm standing in a ditch about six feet deep marking grade while the excavator operator is digging. So to the front of me is a large excavator bucket, itself weighing hundreds of pounds and backed by powerful hydraulics and thousands of pounds of steel armature, and behind me is a solid concrete wall about a foot thick. And the ditch is only a few feet wide and too tall for me to jump or climb out of with any kind of speed.

Suddenly the excavator spins to one side and the arm snaps out to full extension with full force, and the operator shuts it down. The bucket missed my head by about a foot. He climbs out of the machine, visibly shaken, and tells me that something has failed on the machine and the arm "wasn't supposed to have done that." So as he's been digging he's been noticing that ever so slightly there's a bit of a delay between his inputs and the machine's actions, and in the moment before failure he just felt "something wasn't right" and tried to pull the bucket in; when it didn't seem to want to, he turned the excavator "just in case" and that's when the arm extended. Had he not, I would have been crushed to f*cking death.

There were two other excavator operators on that crew, and they were basically idiots. Had one of them been with us that day, I'm sure I'd be dead.



My dad and I were driving down the road after heavy rainfall in Vermont. He is driving, and I am fiddling with the radio. I hear a very load CRACK, and before I can ask my dad what it was, out of the corner of my eye I see movement.

An entire tree was falling on the road - due to the heavy rainfall, the dirt was too wet to keep some trees in place.

My dad stood on his brake, cartoon style, and we slid nearly right into the tree. I heard a pop before we fully stopped, and when we lurched back to 0mph, we were both breathing hard. My dad got out to check the damage, and the pop I hear was a branch hitting a headlight out.

First time I've ever seen my dad call 911. It was scary. Could have been he end of us if he didnt top to chat to the waitress after we left the restaurant to go home.


Under Attack


Not necessarily "a second later"....more like "a few seconds earlier"....but whatever.

I worked at a private gun range for almost a decade and had one encounter where I could have nearly gotten killed.

I was in what we called a trap house (a little bunker that holds a machine that throws clay targets for people to shoot). When we go into said bunker, we put a giant traffic cone on top of it that basically tells people "There's someone in there, keep your shotguns at your side unloaded and wait for them to exit"

One day I was fixing some issues with a machine and was about to exit. I realized I left my bowl on the back shelf and stepped back and grabbed it. The second I did, I hear a shell go off and the cone on top of the house gets obliterated and falls in front of me. Turns out one of our members had his daughter there and was teaching her how to trap shoot. He didn't realize she loaded a shell when he was teaching her how to aim (irrelevant cause his gun shouldn't have been pointed downrange). He lost his membership over that incident.

TL:DR. If I didn't forget my bowl on a shelf, I would have stepped out of a bunker and had my head blown off by a shotgun wielded by an 8 year old girl.


Almost Was A Pancake


Outside my college dorm my freshman year there was this "stoop" that was half under the building, half out from under it. The building was 18 stories tall.

So I'm sitting out there sitting on the steps (not under the building) and I get up for no real reason and walk under the building. As soon as I get under the building, a huge sheet of glass falls right where I was sitting. Some idiots where messing around on the 11th floor and knocked a 10x9 window pane out of its mooring.


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