Surviving a life-and-death situation isn’t something that many of us know much about. Still, some people do face harrowing circumstances and come out on the other side. Unsurprisingly, such a close call is a lot to absorb, and often those who escape catastrophe have a lot to process in the months and years to come.

After one incredibly lucky man made it out of a near-tragic car crash alive, he had a new perspective on almost everything. A year later, he began to share images from the accident—and that was when he realized the reason why he survived in the first place was nothing short of a miracle…

An Imgur user was driving home on the highway one night when he got stuck in traffic. While it might have been annoying at the time, it would be the least of his worries. In his rearview mirror, he saw a semi-truck was rapidly approaching… with no sign of slowing.

The man panicked. He tried to maneuver his car out of the way as quickly as he could, but there was heavy traffic ahead—and the truck was speeding at 65 miles per hour. There was little he could do to escape, so he braced for impact.

The collision was nothing short of terrifying. “My vehicle was thrown off the road, through a ditch, through a fence, and into a ravine,” the man recalled later. He shouldn’t have survived.

That wasn’t the scariest part. “The semi driver was not aware he hit me, and I spent 17 minutes trapped in the car before rescuers even found me,” he recalled. Seventeen minutes may not sound like much time, but the man’s life was hanging in the balance.

Even once he was located, his survival remained in question. It took an entire hour for the firefighters on the scene to safely remove him from his car. His car landed a mile away from the crash site on the highway.

To make matters worse, the temperature was a mere 12 degrees. The man was literally freezing as he waited to be rushed to the hospital. Finally, “a helicopter was called, landed on the middle of the interstate, and transported me from the scene,” he said.

National Guard / Wikimedia Commons

It’s a good thing that the helicopter was available for his rescue—he may not have made it to the hospital otherwise. Traffic was backed up for nearly 20 miles with no exits to relieve the congestion. The delays reportedly lasted up to four hours.

 While the man’s survival alone was miraculous—who else can say their car was smashed by a speeding semi-truck and made it out alive?—he was badly injured. Most people would’ve been left disabled for the rest of their lives…

It wasn’t until the man was treated at the hospital that the full extent of his injuries was known. He had a “severely broken arm, nerve damage… multiple broken ribs, a concussion, multiple back fractures, and severe kidney damage.”

He even shared a few cringeworthy photographs and X-rays of the damage. By the time this photo was taken in the trauma room, his arm had been splinted and he’d already been in the hospital for eight days.

After an accident like that, the man’s survival hinged on his undergoing of a series of extremely painful and complicated surgeries. The first surgery was an attempt to save his arm…

The fact that these procedures were successful was nothing short of miraculous. “Hey, that looks better,” the Imgur user joked online. Compared to nearly getting flattened by a semi-truck, it certainly did!

With stitches running from his triceps to his elbow, the next step was to fix his damaged nerve so that he could regain use of his hand. Without it, he may have never been able to share his story! A third surgery was then performed to treat his back…

Clearly, this man was lucky to be alive, but nothing drove that point home quite like the sight of his car after leaving the hospital. “This was once a Ford Fusion,” he said. “As you can see, the trunk was pushed all the way into the passenger area. [It] ended up mere inches from my head.”

Even more amazing was that, as horrible as this accident was, it could have been worse. “In an amazing bit of luck, the gas tank was not punctured nor was my spare tire. Had the vehicle caught fire, I would have perished,” he noted. Little did he know, it was his quick-thinking that ultimately saved his life…

“Had I not turned the wheel the instant I saw the semi in my rear-view mirror, I would have been thrown forward instead of to the sideways into the ditch/ravine,” he further explained.

The fact that the man would have been ejected from the road in this scenario was just the beginning. “This would have allowed the semi to continue riding over my car, traveling the remaining few inches to strike my head and kill me,” he elaborated.

“So the last year has sucked. Been on pain medications of various types for nearly the past year. I haven’t driven a vehicle since the accident, and am basically home-bound,” he said. Despite this, the man recognized how lucky he was. He posted his story on Imgur on January 17—his birthday—in honor of his good fortune.

Surviving this near-death experience was humbling, but the man said there was still much more for him to look forward to: “My wife and I are expecting our first child this summer,” he revealed. “It is my hope to be nearly healed in time for her arrival.”

The Imgur user was grateful to have an outlet to share his experience with others. “Thanks all for listening to my story,” he concluded. “Keep making me smile as I am swiping through posts as I continue my recovery.”

Thank goodness this man was so fortunate. With a little girl on the way, he must feel like the luckiest man on Earth to have survived that accident—and it was all because he turned the wheel just a little bit!

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