In my native language, we have this idiom - "to cross a hairline bridge", meaning, one has successfully avoided getting in trouble or a dangerous situation miraculously.

Is there an idiom or expression in English that means the same thing?

  1. He was driving at 200 mph on the road when a truck coming from the opposite direction lost control and turned over, coming towards him. At the last moment, he managed to steer the wheel, thus saving his life. he certainly crossed a hairline bridge.

The English expressions a narrow shave (or a close shave) and a close call both refer to a narrow escape from danger.



  • 1
    This is good. You might also consider "dodge the bullet", which is a verb phrase like OP's original and suggests an improbably lucky escape. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 12 '18 at 15:19
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    "Narrow escape" seems like a good suggestion on its own, echoing the thinness of the OP's phrase. But "narrow shave" sounds like an error to me—it should be either "narrow escape" or "close shave", not a combination of the two. – 1006a Sep 12 '18 at 16:01
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    @1006a - Indeed, I think you're right: close shave is more common than narrow shave, although the Ngram shows that both are in use. Interestingly enough, quite a few of the hits for "narrow shave" trace back to lore on the Titanic. Evidently, one crew member testified that, after hitting the iceberg, "I thought it was a narrow shave." That quote seems to have made its way into many books. – J.R. Sep 12 '18 at 20:51

"He managed to steer the wheel, thus saving his life. He certainly avoided disaster by the skin of his teeth." (From The Phrase Finder.)

Narrowly; barely. Usually used in regard to a narrow escape from a disaster.


The following might be a literal translation:

"He walked a tightrope."

If you want to imply that he skillfully managed to achieve an unlikely outcome:

"He threaded the needle."

If you want to emphasize the role of luck, instead of his skill:

"He got lucky."

If you want to emphasize the miraculous aspect:

"God was with him."

  • We also have "balanced on the edge of a knife". – Joshua Jun 14 at 18:41

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