Steve Moakler Re-Focused After Van Crash: ‘I’m Alive, and I Almost Wasn’t’
While on his 2018 Born Ready Tour in April, Steve Moakler and his team were driving through the Smoky Mountains on their way to a show in Asheville, N.C., when they were involved in an accident while Moakler was behind the wheel. Fortunately, everyone involved walked away with only a few minor cuts and bruises, but Moakler says the experience made him step back and re-focus on the things he's grateful for in his life.
"Everything's back to normal, with the exception of the Sprinter," Moakler reflected a little over a month after the incident, during an interview with The Boot, referring to the Mercedes Sprinter van in which he and his crew were traveling. "I don't have the Sprinter anymore."
The van clearly suffered the bulk of the impact, according to the post Moakler shared on Instagram following the wreck. The singer says he and his team were driving in the rain through a particularly mountainous part of the highway that winds through the Smokys when the accident occurred; when he came over the crest of a hill, he suddenly saw brake lights up ahead.
"I slammed the brakes, but with the rain and the weight of the trailer pushing us, I just didn't have enough time to stop. We slid with our brakes locked up for about three football fields, so I saw it coming for a good five seconds," he recalls. "There were two tractor trailers that I had the option of hitting, and there was just nowhere I could turn, so I hit the back of one of them. It was scary."
As luck should have it, Moakler -- whose single, "Born Ready," pays homage to long-haul truckers -- got some help after the accident from the very type of people he celebrates in the song. The two truckers in the vehicles in front of him came to his assistance when he was pinned inside his van.
"Those guys came to the rescue, man," he explains. "Those truck drivers came and pulled me out from behind the steering wheel, because I was stuck in there. I had a chance to tell them about the song and thank them for what they do. It was a really powerful moment and just affirmed all the feelings I already had in the song."
Though the accident was scary, Moakler says it re-focused his perspective: "The accident was just a rush of emotions," he goes on to say. "First it was guilt, and then it was anger, and then it was the feeling that I should give up. Mind you, this is all within the span of, like, one minute.
"But when the first responders came, and I saw them looking at me amazed that I was walking around, suddenly I felt amazed, and grateful," he says. "I'm still alive, and I almost wasn't."
He points to an almost-healed burn on his forearm. "This is from the accident, and it's going to be a scar," he explains. "It's cool to have this as a little reminder. I see this, and it definitely reminds me that my life could have stopped, and it didn't. And I'm excited to see what comes next."
Country Music's Scariest Bus Accidents