It was the scariest ride he had ever been on.
A businessman in Nanjing, China, had drinks at dinner on Dec 15 and hired a valet driver from Didi Chuxing to send him home.
After dropping his friend off in a residential area, Mr Li (anonym) nearly ended up in a car accident.
Seated in the back seat, he had just finished attending to some business matters on his mobile phone when he noticed that his driver had gone off-route.
He was supposed to make a turn at a traffic junction but the Audi SUV continued to travel down the road, he told Yangtse Evening Daily.
Mr Li asked him to make the turn but sensed that something was wrong when his driver did not respond.
Then, he heard the man snore.
Thinking that his driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, the quick-witted passenger scrambled to pull the handbrake to stop the moving vehicle.
Fortunately, they did not get into an accident as traffic on the road was light that night, he said.
But Mr Li had a big shock when he checked on his driver. The man had stopped breathing.
In his panic, Mr Li misplaced his mobile phone in the car and had to borrow a passerby's phone to call for an ambulance and alert the police.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, it was already too late to save the 45-year-old driver.
The police seized the car for investigations while the cause of death is pending further examinations.
Traumatised by the incident, Mr Li told local reporters that he does not want his car back. He also suggested that ride-hailing service company Didi acquire the vehicle.