What's Your 'I Can't Believe I Didn't Crash' Story?

Photo: NHTSA

I’m a teetotaler so I can’t drive drunk. I don’t text while driving. I always wear my seatbelt. I’ve done teen driving and performance driving school. I drive 95 percent of my miles in brand new cars with tons of airbags. There’s every reason to think that I’d be safe from serious injury in a car. But I almost blew all of that by driving drowsy.

I knew I was too tired to be driving. It was 5 a.m., it was a 40-minute drive, and I knew it was a bad idea. But I needed to be home in the morning and I was a dumb high schooler. So I drove drowsy anyway.


That was a terrible idea. Driving drowsy isn’t just a danger to you, but to other motorists. It’s just as dangerous as drunk driving and accounts for one in 10 car accidents. It’s reckless and irresponsible. And since adrenaline usually kicks in if you get pulled over, drowsy driving is almost impossible to spot or crack down on.

Now, I knew it was a bad idea. Instead of not driving like a non-idiot, though, I decided to spend the drive with the windows down, A/C blasting in my face and the music cranked to provide constant stimulation. Over 35 minutes on the highway, it worked.


I got off the highway less than a mile from my house. I had been scared and worried the whole drive, made purposely uncomfortable by my self-inflicted stimulation. But I made it, I could relax. I rolled up the windows, turned down the music and...

THUMP. 3 seconds of road had disappeared in front of me and I had run up on a curb. I was able to quickly yank the wheel back toward the road before damaging any property or shrubbery, but that was dumb luck more than skill. I had fallen asleep. I could have killed someone and was lucky enough to escape without injury or damage.


That was six years ago. I haven’t driven drowsy since. Whether I have to use caffeine or comedy albums or good old fashioned roadside naps to keep me alert, I’m much more careful now. It was a stupid decision in the first place.

But I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s escaped a wreck through luck alone. Whether it was your fault or someone else’s, tell us about when you narrowly avoided a crash.

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About the author

Mack Hogan

Mack Hogan is Jalopnik's Weekend Editor, but you may know him from his role as CNBC's car critic or his brave (and maligned) takes on Twitter. Most people agree that you shouldn't listen to him.