Driving can be an unnerving experience for some, but it can get especially dangerous after the sun goes down. Whether the danger arises from other reckless drivers, the lack of sleep, or wildlife, the happenings on a dimly-lit road at night can feel pretty spooky. These drivers share their own accounts of midnight moments on the road that made their blood pressures spike.
All content had been edited for clarity.
"I was on i70 in Colorado going towards Utah, and pulled over at a gas station at 8pm. Fueling up, I noticed a couple of attractive women pumping gas, on the other side of the pump was the man in his late 40s, just staring at these young women without notice of anything else going on around him. I walk inside to go grab some food for the next few hours of driving, when I come out, I see both the younger women's car and the older man's truck are gone. I decided to hang out at the gas station for the next hour to catch a little sleep before hitting the road again.
After driving for a few hours (I was speeding heavy) I pull over at yet another gas station, the young women are there getting gas and eating some food on a picnic table. It looked like they had been there for a while. I didn't see any sign of the man in the truck, but can't say I was looking very hard for it. Well here is where it got really creepy.
I can't say I didn't stare at them a bit, I mean they were good looking women. As I am watching them leave, I see in the next parking lot over some headlights turn on and it's the same man as before. He leaves when the women leave once again. Okay, that's a bit weird, but could just be a coincidence as there weren't many places to pull over. I leave a few minutes later and catch up to them. Now this guy is riding their tail with his high beams on.
I decided to slow down and stay a distance behind the truck. 10 minutes or so later the women pull over once again to most likely get this guy off their tail. With a sigh of relief, the truck keeps going and I continue on my way. About 1 mile down the road the guy just pulls off to the side of the highway, so I pull off a mile or so down the road again. Sure enough, the women drive by and the guy is still following them. At this point, we are out in the middle of nowhere and too many coincidences have happened. I called the cops to alert them and about 15 minutes the cops pulled the guy over.
I could have just seen too many horror movies that started like this and overreacted, but you never know. Better safe than sorry."
"A hitchhiker almost leapt out in front of my car on a dark forest road late at night. The woman literally popped out of nowhere. I had to drift into the oncoming lane. Luckily there was no one else and it was just a painted medium. I read a police report that said she ended up getting hit minutes after I drove by. She was under the influence and running from the police. Pretty creepy. I hope she's alright. I can't imagine what the driver that hit her was thinking."
"I don’t know if this is really scary, but it definitely freaked me out for a moment.
I was driving home from grad lab for a couple hours of sleep. It was about 4 in the morning (longish, time-sensitive experiment), not dawn yet, still pitch black. I turn a corner, and suddenly, someone runs into the street right in front of my car and....stops. I stop.
They don’t move.
Cautiously, I try to drive around.
They scream, run up and slam their hands on the hood of my car. With them so close, I realize they are totally unclothed and filthy.
They stare at me for a moment, then proceeds to run in wide circles, kind of listing to one side then the other, in front of my car.
After about two minutes of this, he lists hard to one side, far enough I felt safe quickly driving around them, very wide, on the other side that was now open.
"I was following a gray Toyota Tundra in a massive blizzard through Montana on McDonald pass. He was going pretty quick most of the way, but must have been unfamiliar with how steep the final few miles are. He got away from me as I slowed down to about 35. Not 5 minutes later, I passed his tire marks in the fresh snow that went off the side of the mountain. I pulled over and looked down to see his truck upside down and on fire about 300 yards down.
I called 911. He didn’t die, but was burnt up pretty bad. It was sad and scary. Don’t go 50mph in the snow just because you have a truck or 4-wheel-drive!"
"Someone I knew locally came across a Jeep that had just crashed into the ditch on a highway at night, flipped on its top, with its wheels still turning kind of thing.
He was the first on scene, so he called 911 and ran down into the ditch. The driver, who was badly mangled, had been tossed from the car and was dying. This guy held him and the driver died in his arms.
The weirdest part of it all was that he found out the next day that it was his cousin, but he hadn't been able to recognize him."
"I was a very young woman driving home after clubbing, about 2 am through Hollywood. I was pulling up to a stop sign on Cahuenga, about 3 blocks from Hollywood Blvd., when a bunch of guys begin to casually stroll onto the crosswalk, coming from both sides.
I hit the gas and ran the stop sign without even thinking. They cursed and ran after me, but those boys were ready to jack me. My instincts took over before I even realized what was happening."
"I was driving with my wife down a 2 lane divided highway. I came up to a couple semis and went into the left lane to pass. I did a shoulder check to get back into the right lane when I saw headlights in front of me. In my lane. The car was going the wrong way.
I managed to swerve into the ditch. I felt like I was mere centimeters from death. I thought my wife's scream would be the last thing I ever heard... And I never want to hear it again. The semis I passed all pulled to the shoulder to come check on us. I didn't see the car anywhere, I think they just kept going.
I had to pull into a gas station afterwards and collect myself."
"I drove taxi during the night shift and among many crazy and terrifying things, I saw a toddler (2-3 years old).
It was about 1 am and I was driving in a very wooded part of our town, just after dropping a customer off, and in the middle of the road was this baby just sitting in the dark. I stopped my cab and turned on my flashers. I preceded to walk up to the kid and he just started bawling. I tried to comfort him, but me being in disbelief that a baby with no one around was just sitting there, all I could say was, 'It's cool, it's cool, bro.'
I picked him up and he started crying frantically (I would, too, if a stranger came and grabbed me). I put him in the passenger seat and looked for the nearest driveway. It ended up being about 100 yards down the street. I pulled up into what I hoped was his house and there were maybe 6 or 7 teenagers drinking in the garage. I couldn't see from the road because all the houses had long dirt driveways.
When I pulled up, they acted as if I wasn't even there until I said, 'Hey, this your kid?' After a few 'whats?' they came over to the cab and said, 'Aiden? Where did you go?'
Like the baby just goes for midnight strolls. Not a thank you or good bye or anything, they just took the baby into the house and continued drinking and laughing. As I pulled out, I felt as if I should call the cops or something, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm still scared to this day that I'll be driving down a dark road and hit a baby."
"One time I was driving with my girlfriend through Wisconsin on the way back home. It was really late, like 2 or 3 in the morning and I stopped at a gas station to fill up. My GPS ended up putting me on a small highway instead of the expressway right away after leaving there, but I didn't want to complicate things more, so I just followed it.
My girlfriend was sleeping, so I had the radio off and drove in silence on this really dark, creepy highway. There were deer crossing signs, so I was driving extra cautiously because a family friend had recently hit a deer in their truck, which did quite a number on it and also caused her to break her arm from the impact. I saw there was a pretty sharp curve coming up, so I slowed down to make it carefully, and as I'm turning I see a figure exiting the darkness of woods.
It's a large mountain lion, with blood stained all over the front of its face. It scared the snot out of me. I pulled up just after the turn and tried to wake my girlfriend up. I could see it's large shadow make it way across the road in my rearview mirror, but by the time my girlfriend woke up, it was gone. She had lived in Wisconsin most of her life and immediately dismissed my claims that it was a mountain lion because they are not really from that area. I told her I know what I saw, but she insisted that I was seeing things. I acted like she was probably right and continued the trip back, but I know what I saw."
"Back in my twenties, I was putting myself through university by working night shifts at a factory. Money was great, but between full-time work and full-time study, I was constantly exhausted. Sleep got worse when I picked up a second job to make ends meet, my parents split up and my dad went into depression so he wasn't working.
Anyway, after a few months, I kept falling asleep at the wheel on the way home from work just before dawn around 4am. One time as I was driving home all alone after work, I saw half a dozen crocodiles on the road! I swerved to avoid hitting them and almost crashed the car. I was terrified in the moment because they came out of nowhere and were huge and I'd never seen crocodiles in real life before, let alone on a freeway. I pulled over the car and looked in my rear view mirror but nothing was there.
To this day, I don't know if I dreamed those crocodiles or if they were a hallucination from sleep deprivation. It was the scariest thing I've ever 'seen' and I'm so thankful no one was on the road at the time too."
"This happened while driving from Morelia to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico. Back in the 80's, we had two ways to get to Ciudad Hidalgo: it was either by the national road or the old national road called 'Mil Cumbres.' Mil cumbres basically means 1,000 curves. That stretch of road literally had 1,000 curves, so a lot of people would get motion sickness when on that road.
One evening on our way back to my grandparents' home, who lived in Ciudad Hidalgo, my grandfather was driving and he loved taking Mil Cumbres because it had really nice views and he just really loved driving that road. But since we had the new national road, not a lot of people used that road anymore so it was kind of desolate with the exception of passing one or two little towns. It was dusk, so that meant that being on such a desolate road in the mountains, we would be in complete darkness on the road with not many other cars on the same stretch of road.
It took 2 hours to get to the town on that road, so maybe 45 minutes into the drive it had already gotten really dark. As we were driving, my grandfather started slowing down. I was sitting in the back seat because my grandmother was in the front with my grandfather, so I kind of stood over the front seats to see why he was slowing down. That's when I saw a hug tree log blocking the road. My grandfather came to a stop and immediately started going in reverse to turn around and get out of there as fast as possible.
After we turned, my grandfather stepped on the gas pedal and I was sort of thrown back into the back seat. I immediately turned around to see if I could anything, and as we were speeding away, I could see men (very dimly-lit since it the light from the car's tail lights were starting to get dimmer and dimmer) coming from the adjacent trees next to tree log on the road. They were holding flashlights and weapons.
We were about to get robbed and thanks to my grandfather's quick thinking and taking action immediately, we avoided it. That was the last time I was ever on that road."
"I was working at a restaurant as a cook. We did full menu until 11 pm, then appetizers and burgers until 1 am. I tended to pull the solo night shift, because I would walk out the door at 1:05 am and the kitchen was stocked, clean, and perfect.
It was a long night. A stupid waiter kept sending back food orders after 1 am, so I didn't leave until 2 am. It was a 30 minute drive home, and I was exceptionally tired.
I lived in the boonies of Wisconsin at the time, a good 5km outside of town, which was 500 people, 2 churches, and 9 bars. I hit the little 24/7 truck stop just at the edge of that town for some munchies and smokes, and made the final trek home.
Encountering deer was not uncommon out there, so I was going slow. What then suddenly appeared before me, to my tired eyes, was a monster.
It had a huge, round body, this crazy long neck, a pointy head, and only 2 legs. Right in the middle of the road. It scared the ever loving daylights out of me in that state.
Thankfully, it stood there for a second. My brain re-engaged. It's an ostrich. Ok, not a monster, just... an...
What the heck is an ostrich doing wandering around in Central Wisconsin?!?
I looked at it, it looked at me. I blinked. Nope, it was still there. Pretty sure it's real. Finally, it trundled off into the forest.
I grabbed my cellphone, and called the tiny little police station in town (non-emergency number).
'So... I'm really tired, so please laugh at me and tell me to go home and sleep and ignore the call... but I'm pretty sure I just saw an ostrich on Highway xx just outside x town.'
She started laughing hysterically, then assured me that:
-No, I'm not hallucinating.
-There's an ostrich and emu farm on the other side of town, a guy raises them for meat.
-Some inebriated driver felt that 'turns are for losers,' went up, over the berm, through the fence, and through most of the barn.
-There's still 4 animals, including the one I just spotted, unaccounted for.
-Where are you exactly, and which way did it go so we can round it up?
I gave her the info, finished the last few miles home, and died in bed. Wild night, man."
"Back in early fall or late summer of 2016, I was a new D&D player. Our group played on Friday nights from 9 to whenever we were done, in those days anywhere between midnight and 2:30 at the Dungeon Master's house. He lived a good 15 minute rural drive away.
One Friday night we ended the game near 2am. I headed off for home in my ‘85 Volkswagen Cabriolet, taking the normal route. After a few turns, I reached a road that we’ll call Dale Road. Dale Rd runs almost straight north and south for several miles, crossing a State Route about a third of the way along the direction I was taking home.
Most of the trip was uneventful. I’d say I made it 4/5 of the way down Dale Rd before I spotted a pair of headlights ahead of me. I’d always been a little uneasy when someone drove behind me at night for some reason, and I started to have that uneasiness creep up on me as I approached these headlights. That had never happened before. They were low to the ground, about the same distance from the asphalt as the headlights on a sedan or coupe. The best match that jumps to mind are the lights on a 98 Honda Accord. I spotted these approaching headlights about a third of a mile ahead of me, in a lightly wooded area sparingly lined with houses and farms. All of those buildings are set back from the road a bit, and I was in open farmland at this point.
I passed a road on the left that we’ll call Redford Rd, continuing toward the headlights. I hit a rise, dip, and rise in the road about a quarter mile away. Traversing this dip at that speed (between 55 and 60 mph) takes half a second, and was also enough to put the approaching headlights out of sight. Upon cresting the other side of this dip the lights were gone.
My mind immediately recognized that something was wrong, and my hair stood on end. Where could a car have gone in half a second? The driveways were visible, and no car was traveling down them - I’d see their lights or reflectors from here, even if they turned their headlights off. I reached the houses and slowed down to 35, looking down every single driveway. No cars were parked outside, no interior lights were on in the houses, no garage doors opening or closing, no lights on inside the garages, nothing. No people, no cars, no lights, no sounds, nothing. Absolutely nothing. I distinctly remember looking down a long, straight road that went off to the right between two houses and saw no taillights.
I began trying to rationalize what happened after passing that road. Nothing that immediately jumped to mind was satisfactory. My school bus route used to terminate nearby, turning around in a driveway with a Pine Tree growing by the road and making that particular tree distinctive in my memory. It’s about a quarter mile away from where the headlights disappeared, and about a half mile from where I was when that happened. I approached this tree, passing by it right as I thought, 'That was probably nothing after all.' The moment the thought occurred to me, the headlights came back on behind me, exactly where they’d turned off, but turned around to travel in my direction. And now, they were blinding - like spotlights. My ‘85 Cabby has a small rear window, and this light illuminated the entire dashboard enough to read all of the labels. The fear I felt the first time, when the lights disappeared, was nothing compared to this. It was a deep, primal, pure flight instinct. A ‘I have to get away from that thing right now, my life depends on it’ kind of fear.
I stomped on the gas, shifted into high, and doused the lights. The ‘85 was before daytime running lights were mandatory, so with the switch off, every light on the car goes out. The lights, a quarter mile behind me and keeping perfect pace, were enough to drive by. My turn off of Dale Rd was half a mile ahead, a 50ft tree planted just across from it. As I approached it, the whole thing was illuminated from top to bottom. My gut instinct told me that I had to do whatever possible to get away without being followed - I coasted for a short distance and made the turn without braking so that whatever was behind me wouldn’t see my brake lights. (The car is bright red anyway, but I wasn’t thinking clearly.) I cut the turn early, and even then almost came off the opposite shoulder and into a ditch.
After the turn, I glanced out of my driver window toward the lights - a crop of soybeans on a rise hiding the road. Two shafts of light were coming from the road, fully illuminating that tree. There was no fog. How bright does something have to be to make shafts of light without fog or mist? I floored it all the way home. It didn’t follow me.
I tried to forget about it after that, only telling a few of my closest friends. In those discussions we tried to figure out what could have caused the disappearing act. Farm equipment is too slow, cars have reflectors (not to mention the ditch on either side of the road), the lights were awfully low for an off-roading vehicle, etc. The only possibility we agree upon is maybe a go-kart or something like that. But where would they have hidden? Why didn’t I hear them? After those few discussions, I pushed it out of my mind. Until earlier this year, that is.
I volunteer with a local government agency, and on the return trip from a small errand the driver (of a two seat pickup) started talking about paranormal incidents he’d investigated - turns out he’s a Mutual UFO investigator. I told him about what I called the ‘ghost car,’ and he said I should file a report. I did, because he said that they take reports of just about anything. Upon investigating, we discovered that there is no road between buildings in that copse of houses. In fact, the road I remember being there was exactly like a road a mile back from that point, but the landscape and structures there don’t match where I was when I remembered looking down the road. Naturally the MUFON man thinks aliens - that they used that road as a splice to cover whatever happened. I’m far from sold on that, but whatever happened is officially beyond any answer I’m comfortable with. Whatever happened, I now have panic attacks whenever someone pulls out behind me late at night. I just can’t take that anymore."
"It was 1978 or '79. I was the lead singer/guitarist of a punk band called 'The Nads.' Punk was new to Vermont and roundly hated in an era of overblown bands issuing albums of overly instrumented 14 minute pieces. We were three poor kids with secondhand equipment and few gigs. We were also the owner of an ancient 'Thames' van which had previously served a plumber. His name was still faintly visible on the sides despite many scrubbings.
Anyway, we travelled up and down Vermont and also made trips to New Hampshire and Maine playing where we could. We got a gig playing at a basement bar in Portland, Maine, but the pay would cover not much more than the gas. We gassed up, packed two days worth of sandwiches and a change of underwear and off we went. Just over the border in Maine, we blew a tire (or 'tyre' since it was a Thames). It was still afternoon and there was a garage/gas station nearby, so we took the tire off and walked it over to see if they could repair it.
The spare was quite bald and probably wouldn't have got us home. The road was narrow and in pretty rough shape and we walked along in our all-black attire and our unfortunate haircuts. The reaction we got from the locals at the station was shock, but we had cash and away we drove.
About 20 miles further, the same tire flattened again and we figured that we had been had. We were in an even more rural area and this was the time before cell phones so we were out of luck. Night closed in. We had food to eat and plenty of forest to pee in so we just waited for a good Samaritan or at least daybreak. Sorry, bar that took a chance on us. We lounged around inside the van and played around a bit on a new song we were writing, then ate and tried to sleep.
Deep in the night we heard the screeching of metal being dragged along asphalt and we bolted upright and peered out the windshield. There a snowmobile was racing along the (in June) road, shooting off sparks behind it like a comet. One guy was driving and another guy was...well...'surfing' behind it on something which looked like a piece of farm machinery while he clung desperately to a rope tow line. The 'comet' lingered in our eyes as the two disappeared around a wooded corner. We didn't say anything for a long while until Bill our drummer blurted out, 'You guys need to write a song about that.' And so 'Wrenchhead Surfing' was written."