It's not always about being funny.

So I almost died last night.

Driving at night

When I left the comedy club at 11:30 last night, I could feel the exhaustion pushing in, clouding the corners of my vision. I shook it off – it was only seventy miles to home. Piece of cake.

The tires screamed out a warning as they crossed into the breakdown lane. It had only been twenty miles and I was losing the battle to stay awake. I corrected and gripped the wheel. The windows came down, a cold steady wind buffeting my head as I drove down the dark road at ninety miles an hour. The rain misted the windshield and crept into the car.

It wasn’t enough. Another thirty miles gone and my resistance ebbed. My eyelids turned to concrete, incapable of staying up. It felt like less than a second, which was enough time for my car to stray into the next lane. The road was empty and very straight and my alignment is good, so I told myself that it was okay. I had less than twenty miles to go, and the adrenaline pumping through my veins would fuel me the rest of the way.

With cold air streaming in the windows and music blasting in my ears, I was relieved to exit onto the final stretch of highway. Well-lit and populated by cars, this road was my sign that I’d made it. I was so relieved to be this close to home and this close to my bed. I had gotten lucky, and as I passed through downtown, I relaxed.

Only to open my eyes a second (two seconds? three seconds?) later in the middle of two lanes with my bumper scant inches from the rear of a blue sedan. In those unconscious moments, I had drifted across two lanes of traffic and, had I not woken up, would have bumped into this anonymous driver, causing us to ricochet across the highway at eighty miles per hour. He probably would have spun out in front of me as the rear of my car twisted to the side and headed for the embankment. Maybe he would have braked in time before hitting the rail or maybe the car would have wrenched the guard rail from its foundation as he plowed through it, throwing pieces of rebar and razor sharp concrete through his windshield, impaling him to his seat, killing him instantaneously. I would have hit the soft, wet dirt and grass, my tires digging in, as the momentum from the crash and my speed caused the car to flip over and over again until it crashed into the woods on the side of the road. I would have awoken, screaming in pain as I was trapped inside the crushed metal frame of something that used to be my car.

That is, if I woke up at all.

35 thoughts on “So I almost died last night.”

  1. Fuck.
    I’m so glad you’re okay.
    Please don’t put yourself in that situation again. A very dear friend of mine did die when her bf fell asleep at the wheel. She was 18. You were lucky Adam.

  2. I always wonder why people who KNOW they’re exhausted continue to drive. It’s dangerous not only for the driver but for the rest of us. I lost a friend that way, he fell asleep at the wheel, killed instantly, luckily his wife and baby survived and he didn’t hit another car, just a TREE. I’m curious, does a person think about pulling off the road or is the reasoning shot because of the exhaustion? It’s why I hate driving at night. I don’t trust other drivers.

    1. It’s a matter of hubris. You think that you’re okay, that the adrenaline from a near-miss will keep you going. I have pulled over before and slept when I was very tired, but this time, I just felt like I could make it.

  3. I’m hoping I don’t need to tell you never to do that again. Shit, Im telling you anyway: Never drive in that state. Get a hotel, stay with a friend. Sleep in your car. Don’t risk yours or anyone else’s safety! With that now said, I’m glad you’re safe! Xo

  4. I hate that feeling. I usually slap myself across the face and/or bite my pinkie with my molars. The last time was when I had a mediation in Savannah, so I got up at 5, drove 4 hours, mediated 4 hours, and then drove home another 4 hours. I stopped at a red light when I was almost home and fell asleep. A driver behind me honked the horn so I’d wake up and keep driving. Glad you made it !

  5. I have been there way too many times Brother. From ’96-’01, while in the Navy, I made the drive from FL to Norfolk, VA many, many times when I had no business being behind the wheel.

    I once hit one of those orange construction barrels with my mirror. Another time, I went off the edge of the road, only to over-correct hard and crack the inside of the aluminum wheel on the road’s edge. One time, somewhere in South Carolina, I drifted into the center median dead asleep all while a helpless State Trooper watched from a few cars back. I awoke, corrected, and came back to the road. The trooper, obviously concerned, pulled me over. “Have you been drinking,” was his first question. “I was just sure you were going into those trees back there.” I assured him that I was just exhausted and driving back to work in VA. He highly recommended that I stop and rest. Of course, I didn’t, foolishness at its best.

    I take away from all this is, be careful. As others have told it is way too easy too lose a loved one in an instant. We sadly aren’t as young as we used to be, and work all day and all night, or party, or whatever simply hits us harder than we can fight through sometimes.
    You need to be around for us to laugh with for a long time.


  6. I know I usually lurk, but I have to say NOTHING you’ve written has ever upset me. But this. Oh. I’m SO angry you would do this to yourself and (almost) others. Nothing in this world gets my inner angry-girl going like irresponsible driving. Please, don’t do this again. Pull over and sleep for an hour. Get a hotel room. Find a Walmart parking lot. Driving while drowsy is sometimes worse than driving drunk, and the results are the same. My respect for you has just gone way down, dude….

  7. Not sure whether you live in a place that makes this dangerous, but many times in my life I’ve pulled off to an access road or parking lot, turned off the car, reclined my seat, and slept in the car. Something usually woke me up (once a cop with a baton on the window, who appreciated my discretion at pulling over when I was too sleepy to drive), but if not you always have an alarm clock in your mobile phone. I wake up, and continue my journey.

  8. MY KID COULDA BEEN ON THAT ROAD!!! Someone’s parent, lover, friend coulda been there! Drowsy driving is as bad-or worse-than text driving. I would have been hella sad to lose you, Adam. Driving 70 miles after a show is not cool, unless you’ve had a night of meth.

  9. no fucking reason to do 90 regardless of whether you are wide awake or crazy tired. slow the fuck down.
    you normally drink at comedy shows, don’t you? did alcohol consumption influence the stupid decision to not slow down and to not pull the fuck over after when you were so tired?

  10. My uncle was killed on his way to work by someone who thought they could make it to their destination if they pushed it. Along with my uncle, three people in the sleeping driver’s car died and the two people with my uncle were in the hospital for over a month. Please, please, please pull over and take a power nap next time. I don’t wish anyone the pain of losing a loved one over something so preventable.

  11. Such a dickhead you are. I find this so wrong and can’t even find the words. “But you don’t know why you didnt pull over this time”… Because your a dickhead that’s why. Selfish, irresponsible dickhead but I bet you know that.

  12. What the FUCK, Avi. If you weren’t going to enjoy the Russell Stover heart shaped box of chocolate covered amphetamines I sent you, you could have shipped them back.

    Also, don’t do this again. Idiot.

  13. After years of night nursing I got a few tricks to help. Since I wanted to get home to sleep, coffee was out, but orange juice helped for the drive home and you could still sleep when you got home. Also eating crackers or something crunchy helps, hard to sleep while you are eating.
    But there are also those times you have to get over yourself and pull over. The click moment for me was reading that driving “drowsy” was as dangerous as driving drunk. I would never drive drunk, why would I allow myself to drive drowsy?
    I’m not a night nurse anymore.

  14. I am glad that you got home safely and are here to write this. I have heard if you eat ice you won’t fall asleep driving. When I was driving between Scott Air Force base (St.Louis-ish) and Jeff City, it kept me awake on my way home.

  15. I have done that myself a few times. When it was the start of my 52 mile commute, I started calling my boyfriend or mom when I got sleepy. Now, I’ve leveled out, but I still need/want to move closer to work.

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