Most Auto Accidents Aren't Accidents at All
According to one dictionary, an accident can be defined as "anything that happens suddenly or by chance without an apparent cause; often harmful, causing injury etc". After carefully reading and rereading this definition, I started to question if most auto accidents were really "accidents" at all? I began thinking back and recounting past auto accidents I had witnessed, like that time my uncle Jack backed his car into the garage door. Well, now that I think about it, he was playing with the radio dials at the time. And the time my brother rear-ender another vehicle? I have to admit he was going a wee-bit over the speed limit. And my poor grandmother ran a stop sign once and ended up hitting a garbage truck - wouldn't you know it, she wasn't wearing her glasses that day.
Hmmm... are auto accidents really, well, accidental? The more and more I think about it, the more I realize most accidents are indeed preventable. If uncle Jack had been looking behind him as he reversed, the garage door wouldn't have suffered, if my brother had been driving the speed limit, he could have avoided his fender bender, and if grandma had been wearing her corrective lenses she would've seen that all so important stop-sign. In fact, according to the California DMV website, the primary causes of accidents are driver errors and the most common driver errors that lead to auto accidents are:
- Unsafe speed
- Inattention to driving
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Improper turns
- Violation of the right-of-way rules
- Violation of stop signals and signs
In almost every case of a so called "accident", some sort of preventative measure could have saved the day, whether by having your tires checked regularly to help avoid blow-outs or maintaining safe speeds and space cushions with other vehicles to avoid crashes.
Since most auto accidents are avoidable, they aren't really accidental at all; maybe a better term to use would be the word collision, or the act of two objects crashing into each other. Explained more effectively, a collision occurs when the space between two vehicles becomes zero. Which explains why a traffic judge once chuckled when a not-so-bright courtroom lawyer once asked "How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?" Explaining a collision at this most basic level can help new drivers realize the importance of not speeding, keeping a safe space cushion around their entire vehicle, and hopefully avoiding their first fender-bender altogether. To keep yourself driving accident free for years to come, check out The Drivers Ed Direct Guide to Driving Collision-Free.
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