Last night I was out driving
Coming home at the end of the working day
I was riding alone through the drizzling rain
On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane
When I came upon a wreck on the highway

There was blood and glass all over
And there was nobody there but me
As the rain tumbled down hard and cold
I seen a young man lying by the side of the road
He cried Mister, won't you help me please

An ambulance finally came and took him to Riverside
I watched as they drove him away
And I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife
And a state trooper knocking in the middle of the night
To say your baby died in a wreck on the highway

Sometimes I sit up in the darkness
And I watch my baby as she sleeps
Then I climb in bed and I hold her tight
I just lay there awake in the middle of the night
Thinking 'bout the wreck on the highway

Lyrics submitted by geekusa

Wreck On The Highway song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThe song symbolizes Bruce's depression at the time:
    Cars were used as a symbol of freedom
    This time cars are used as a symbol of death, the ultimate crash and burn.
    IZSBHRon November 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationAnyone else who thinks that the "young man lying by the side of the road" might be the protagonist of 'Drive all night'? Drive all night is right prior to this song on the River album (these are the two last songs on that album). Furthermore there is the resemblance of the "drizzling rain". And the protagonist on drive all night who would drive "through the wind, through the rain." And of course the girl he wants to drive to, and the "girlfriend or a young wife" in this song.

    If you look at it that way this song gives 'Drive all night' a very sad twist. I personally believe it is no coincidence that 'Wreck on the Highway' is following 'Drive all night'. I just think it is another sign of Springsteen brilliance, to see that there are multiple layers in an album and that there are connections and relations between songs. Of course you could also interpret them seperately, but for me, this turns the hope and love on Drive all Night to some sort of inevitable failure.

    (besides that, this is a great song on its own!)
    MartijnVeenendaalon January 20, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA reflection on the fragility of human life and how it would be to face the death of the person you love.
    wwbon November 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentabout a man who confronts his mortality and comes to the realization that his own death is evident
    early15on June 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I just lay there awake in the middle of the night, thinking about the wreck on the highway." One of the reasons Bruce's storytelling is so vivid is because he oftentimes conjures up pictures and narratives by doing more with less words. How sad and pitiful does that line make you feel, especially if you really listen to it and understand the string of drama playing out in Bruce's soul like actors on a stage. Every song is a scene, every album an epic work of art, displaying elements of both drama and music.
    differentstrokes5on April 05, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA song about the emotional strain and thought process that comes with realizing one's own mortality.
    ryfall101on August 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Sometimes I sit up in the darkness And I watch my baby as she sleeps Then I climb in bed and I hold her tight"...Yup, exactly. (So R we done yet? R we done having fun...'cause I'm done. Enjoy.)
    TurnMeOnon January 20, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSimple deadpan narrative with a suitably sparse musical arrangement that nonetheless converges with intense emotion: enough to make you cry - sometimes I do. Stunning way to end an album too.
    MarkC38on June 19, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe is talking about the random deaths from car crashes and as a mother I often wish the state trooper went to a mother's door, because mother's live with that fear all the time when they have sons.
    delia17601on December 01, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me it is a song about motherhood and the fear you have for sons, the line girlfriend and young wife, I change to a mother or young wife...because to me our son's are always our babies....and it totally cracks me up this song every time because mothers like me lie awake and worry about our sons and cars.
    delia17601on June 18, 2019   Link

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