It would be difficult to make it through a lifetime without encountering a near-death experience. Existence is simply too chaotic.

A human being roams the planet among so many other people and natural phenomena buzzing around at all times. Almost inevitably, a close call will occur.

Often, a scrape with death erupts suddenly and occupies mere seconds of time. The moment is over by the time you accept how close you came.


But on rare occasions, death is sense before arrival. The conditions arise, a threat is seen looming, and you can connect the dots--and those dots end with you a dead person.

Some Redditors discussed the times they were sure that they were about to die.

Backpacks_Got_Jets asked, "What was your 'So. This is how I'm going to die' moment?"

A Descending Shadow

"I was on a swim team when I was a young teen. After practice sometimes we would assist the lifeguards with pulling the tarps over the pool. One day I dropped my goggles in deep end and went down to grab them, and when I came back up the tarp was already being brought over."

"I pushed up on the tarp as hard as I could but the water wouldn't separate because of the lack of air. I was fairly certain I was going to drown. I eventually made my way to the end of the tarp. My eyesight is terrible so opening my eyes wouldn't have been much help."

"As soon as I found the opening I took the most refreshing breathe of air I have ever inhaled. Some kid on the team called me a dumba** because I almost died, thanks Cory."

-- WetHotAmericanBadger

A Brief Stint as a Dead Person

"After a car accident, sitting in the road watching the stream of blood going into the snow. As my vision started tunneling I just kinda accepted it and fell asleep."

"I woke up in the ambulance, beamed a big smile at the paramedics just in time to watch the heart monitor going flat, and said something along the lines of 'Well, that ain't good! Y'all best fix that nowwww...'"

"And then promptly died for about a minute."

-- Shes_dead_Jim

Unique Terror

"When I realized I was being stalked by a bear when I was hiking alone and I was two miles from my car. I have been in lots of sketchy situations in my life due to my troubled past and have had weapons pulled on me at times."

"The amount of pure helpless terror I felt when I realized that bear was following me was insane compared to any situation I had been in before. I have been able to fight my way out of any situation. But I knew I couldn't fight myself out of this situation."

"The only reason I lived was because I walked backwards facing it the whole time not exposing my back so it's predator instincts wouldn't kick in, but even then if it decided to charge me at any reason I was f**ked. It just got bored of me and left."

"I was so scared and had so much adrenaline pumping that I was literally shaking. That primal I am about to get eaten fear is unreal. It is a fear that is way stronger than any horror movie or ghost story will give you."

-- Cannabilistichokie

A Rupture, Then Blankness 

"Had a blood clot. Spleen filled with blood. Spleen popped like a balloon. Lost 6 liters of blood before I got onto a transfusion."

"Lucky i was already in hospital when it popped. When everyone rushed in I ask my doctor what happened he said 'You have died, we will try and bring you back but you may want to say goodbye.' I was out cold 15 min later and woke up 400 km away 2 days later with 32 staples in my belly and in a lot of pain."

-- chuc999

Skidding and Skidding

"A snowstorm hit as I was crossing over a mountain pass surrounded by woods. Sleet fell hard and heavy. I couldn't see the road."

"The car slid. I gently turned the wheel sideways and let off the gas. Instead of slowing down, the car picked up speed. I was closer to the drop off than I'd realized. I didn't jerk the wheel; didn't want to over-correct."

"I went into a ditch, still going much too fast. Tree branches and trunks were within feet of me, then scratching the car's paint."

"Instead of being scared, I became peaceful. 'This is it,' I thought, 'I'm going to die, but it'll be okay.' Just after this (though it seemed much longer) the car slowed, then stopped. I sat there for a while afterward."

-- rarebird22

They Don’t Know the Half of It

"I fell of my bike because of snowy roads that had turned to ice. My fall was almost instantaneous and basically painless, but I fell with my body and my head into the road."

"I looked back with my head on the asphalt and saw the wheels of a very heavy car driving directly towards my face. The car moved out of the way and missed me by a few inches."


"This was so strange, because basically nothing happened. I walked the rest of the way to school with my clothes all soaked from the snow. I was immediately yelled at for being late, followed by having to solve some math problem in front of the class."

"Then I just broke down and started crying and ran out of the class. It suddenly hit me that that moment had felt like I was going to die."

"Even now, it still seems like such a small thing, and there have probably been scarier moments in my life, but this one happened so damn quick. In this tiny moment I was so sure that this was it, so it always stuck with me."

-- puzzlingpuffling

First Panic, Then Logistics

"House was burning down. Was spraying the fire with a garden hose while waiting for the firefighters to show up. Start seeing fire coming out the window next to my gas canister."

"First thought - huh, guess I'll die. Then I thought about moving it."

-- fullonfulton

A Complete Loss of Control

"A**hole drunk driver hit my car while I was stopped at a light. I hope I'm never again in a spinning car." -- ViolaNguyen

"Oh, how I despise drunk drivers. Glad you survived!" -- ilmonstro

"Being in a spinning car is the worst feeling. Source: someone who once got very stupid and very lucky on an icy road." -- silly_gaijin

Prey 

"Walking my new puppy and two dogs jumped their yard. Pit and a boxer. I chucked my dog over a wall into a different neighbor's yard as they were trying to bite her. That's when they started chewing."

"One on each arm and took me to the ground, I got back up. I started screaming and a neighbor came out and scared them away. 3 hours of surgery and plastic surgery on my partially ripped off ear."

"I was sure I was being killed. I think the only reasons I survived is staying on my feet and my neighbor coming out. God bless him and his gun lol. I came out lucky, scars but no permanent damage."

-- desertrat329

What a Way to Go

"When I was small, I was shooting plastic beads out of my nose. One got stuck and wouldn't come out, and I figured it would kill me. I didn't want to bother anyone about it so I went to bed and waited to die."

"It fell out of my nose right before I fell asleep."

-- pfysicyst

Swaying and Swaying

"Was on the top floor of a tall building in San Francisco when a decent earthquake happened."

"And I could feel the building sway, could see what looked like the earth's horizon swaying out the window (it was the building moving) and for a split second I thought the building was going to fall over."

-- ChewbaccasStylist

Game of Inches

"Took a hit from a hunk of shrapnel in my right hip, basically right where the femoral artery is. Was bleeding like a motherf***er and I have a pretty good notion of anatomy, so I was fairly certain I was screwed."

"Turns out I was stupidly lucky. Missed the artery by less than a centimeter."

-- LunaticPity

Shock Like You Wouldn't Believe

"When I got struck by lightning. I was trying to get indoors before the storm hit. I found myself in an opening and I made this stupid choice to run through it. That's when I saw the sky lit up and saw the lightning coming towards me."

"I said this is how I'm going to die. Of course, I was lucky. I was struck by the bolt. It went through me so quickly, the worst damage was the burn marks and passing out."

-- Anakin255

Cool Under Pressure

"I was a broke college student, going to my dad's to borrow money 20 miles away. January, - 18 F. Got right out of town, hit the gas, first winter driving (got my license later in life) and hit black ice."

"Fish tailed and then slid into oncoming traffic, a Kia Sportage coming the opposite way. I looked at the car and thought, 'Well, f***, guess I won't be buying groceries later' and then slammed into the opposite ditch, narrowly avoiding certain death."

"Didn't have money for a tow but a guy came along with his pickup and tow strap and pulled me out so I didn't freeze to death. So strange how at peace I was at that moment when I thought I was going to die."

-- locketreasurehunter

Barely Enough Time to Realize It

"Last year I got a viral infection that spread to my brain and I went temporarily blind and deaf and was a couple hours away from dying of dehydration. I have amnesia of pretty much everything but thinking 'Oh thank god. It's finally f***ing over' and then darkness.

"Not spooky, not scary, just 'movie's over, lights are off, that's it' "

"Then I woke up in the f***ing hospital."

-- drunky_crowette

Head First

"I grew up in a national park full of mountains. One night when I was 10 years old I went on a night hike with my neighbours to see the full moon. While hiking we found this awesome cliff that we could climb up."

"I made it to the top first and overlooked the cliff down towards my friend. Unfortunately I looked forward too far and fell head first over the cliff. I was two inches away from hitting my head on a boulder."

"The cliff was about 20 feet high, so I was still injured in the fall. I had to be carried down the mountain by my neighbours parents as I was unable to walk."

-- bongbeautie


Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

You May Also Like
Hi friend— subscribe to my mailing list to get inbox updates of news, funnies, and sweepstakes.
—George Takei