Man Holds Breath In Tunnel, Crashes Car Into Two Others — So Let's Put This Superstition To Bed, Okay?

You know the childhood superstition that involves holding your breath while traveling through a tunnel? A Washington teenager demonstrated why that’s a bad superstition to follow on Sunday when he caused a three-car crash by holding his breath in a tunnel to the point of passing out at the wheel. So, yeah, don’t do that.

After losing consciousness in a tunnel northwest of Portland, Oregon, 19-year-old Daniel Calhon drifted over the center divider and crashed his Toyota Camry headfirst into a Ford Explorer. The two cars then careened into the walls of the tunnel, at which point a pickup truck slammed into the Camry. Thankfully, nobody was killed, although four people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

It’s unclear what exactly Calhon was thinking. Police speculated that it may have had something to do with the widespread myth — popular among schoolchildren — that holding one’s breath in a tunnel brings good luck — or, conversely, that failing to do so brings calamity and/or some manner of curse upon the traveler.

“Playing games while driving that are distracting can have tragic consequences and legal ramifications,” Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police said after the accident. “The tunnel is over 750 long and has little room for driving error.”

Calhon has was cited for reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and fourth-degree assault. The tunnel was closed for about two hours.