What's a terrible situation you've been in that you didn't realize until after the fact?

When I was 18 I had my first serious college boyfriend and over winter break I traveled to his hometown to meet his family. He picked me up from the airport in his reconditioned jeep - it was one of those classic jeeps from the maybe 70's? that people will baby and custom paint like classic cars. He put big wheels on it and it looked like a Tonka toy and he'd been showing me pictures of it and telling me about it all semester, he couldn't wait to show it off, so he picked me up from the airport in it. It was all custom inside. No back seat (he built a huge speaker in that space) and no seatbelts yet.

We were driving down the highway from the airport and he was driving like a douche. I should mention this was a Southern US state and they were getting an uncharacteristic snow storm, and he was completely unprepared to drive in those conditions. We hit a patch of ice and I suddenly felt us tipping towards my side. I thought --- we'll tip back, no way will we actually go over. But we did, and I don't have any memory of anything that came after that, until....

I opened my eyes and looked up, and I could see the jeep above me, upside down. I'd later learn we'd spun, rolled down an embankment, landed upside down and then slid, piling up snow, until we actually landed on a feeder road some distance below the highway. I had not been wearing a seatbelt, but somehow ended up in and under the overturned jeep. The hard top had come off during the accident and I was actually laying in the snow with the jeep on top of me, as if I were in a cave.

Outside, I could hear all this commotion. People screaming and yelling, frantic and urgent. I heard "Oh my god! Oh my god!" and someone crying. And I had this exact distinct thought: "I'm so glad I'm in here, safe and warm and protected under the jeep, and not out there where there's apparently something really awful happening." Because I'd just had this thought, when a good Samaritan peered under the jeep and started calling out to me, I told him I was fine where I was and refused to come out. I totally believed something scary was outside on the highway because of all the yelling.

My boyfriend, who had caused the accident, had been thrown from the jeep and like douches everywhere was relatively uninjured, and he was the one who finally peered in and convinced me to come out from under the jeep. I crawled out, and there was a group of people around the jeep all staring at me totally silently, big eyes looking at me like I was a monster. It freaked me out. I actually wanted to crawl back in the safe little cave under the jeep.

A woman stepped forward and said, "Come and sit in my warm car until the ambulance comes, honey" and as we walked to her car, I turned around to see that:

  • we had left a long, long dug out scar all the way down the embankment from the highway, where the snow was gone and the grass under the snow was gone and there was a black gouge of nothing but earth.
  • Along that black gouge there were parts of the jeep scattered. The hard top roof was twisted like aluminum foil, laying there next to us, the windshield with the frame that surrounded it had come off part way down, and the big douche speaker was in pieces all over the embankment.
  • The jeep itself was crumpled to half its original size, the tires themselves looked bent and it was nothing now but a really small looking smoking pile of metal.

I realized then that I had been UNDER that smoking pile of metal, and it felt for a few minutes like the safest place in the world. Later, at the douche bf's parents' house, we saw the accident on the news and I could not believe my eyes. It looked shockingly horrible. But I couldn't (and can't, to this day) shake the memory of being nestled in the little safe snow cave under the jeep, not wanting to come out because it felt like a safer place than everything that was happening outside.

/r/AskReddit Thread