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Old 02-07-2019, 08:39 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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How many car accidents are just "luck"?

First off, I acknowledge that alert, defensive driving can cause one to avoid the vast majority of driving accidents. However, I have long felt that there are at least some potential accidents, which the average driver avoids simply because of luck. Or conversely, they fail to avoid due to bad luck.

I'm thinking about driving on a crowded urban expressway, and the guy in front of you just slams on his brakes. You can't keep an adequate interval because if you drop back, someone fills the space. Or you are driving in a neighborhood and a kid runs out between parked cars.

Every once in a while something will happen - maybe a car comes out of a driveway abruptly as I pass or a vehicle ahead will kick something up, and as I narrowly avoid it I'll think, "Boy, good thing I wasn't passing there a 1/2 second earlier/later..."

Not to mention the number of times a decent driver might be distracted, or just zoning out, expecting traffic to behave as it normally does.

My wife OTOH, disagrees.

Neither of us has been in an accident for a long time.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:56 AM
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Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is offline
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when you're sitting at a red light and it turns green and some car goes flying through the red light before you have a chance to accelerate.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:23 AM
enipla enipla is online now
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I've been driving for 43 years. I do about 15,000 miles a year, including some of the worst snow/ice conditions many people will never see. I've never been involved in an accident regardless of fault.

There is some luck involved, as I've never been rear ended say at a traffic light. But for the most part, luck has very little to do with it.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:29 AM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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Back when I had a car, I was driving home from work, going north on Lake Shore Drive.

Usually I drove in the the left lanes, to avoid the usual bottleneck at the Belmont exit, which during summer is many times choked with Cub Fans headed for Wrigley.

Well one day, I had something in my mind and was driving along in the right lane, which meant I was slowing down into the bottleneck, but I didn't notice for a few moments.

Just as I snapped out of my mental ruminating to realize, "Hey wait, I'm in the wrong lane...", cars started slamming into each other across the three lanes that I would normally have been driving in. The cars in my lane were untouched.

I drove past the pileup and kept going, switching into the now empty left lanes, thinking something along the lines of, "Whoa. That was spooky."

I told my mom this story, and she insisted that it proved Jehovah's existence and protection.

But no, it was just blind luck.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:40 AM
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Once in 2017 and once in 2018, in parking lots, a vehicle going into reverse struck my car while the car was stationary with me sitting in it. Both times, the vehicle going in reverse started off multiple car lengths away and both times, the at-fault driver never heard me leaning on the horn to warn them.

Hoping for a clean 2019
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:10 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Most of the "accidents" I have been involved in were the result of stupidity (only once was it my stupidity. Hey I was 17! Of course I was stupid.) such as not paying attention (including texting and driving) or drunk driving, which is it's own brand of stupidity.

My near misses, however, were all luck. Like seeing a large pickup truck go screaming through a red light not ten car lengths in front of me. If I were ten seconds faster I'd have been tee boned. Was he drunk? I'll never know.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:19 AM
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In both of my car accidents and two of my motorcycle crashes I will call it luck/fate/bad juju.
Car -- sitting at a stop sign waiting to merge when I was struck from behind
Car - blind-sided from the rear quarter by car speeding from a gas station
Bike - drunk car driver turning the wrong way onto a one way street
Bike - drunk car driver looking to kill the next person he saw on a motorcycle (semi-long story)
None were avoidable in the sense that no level of defensive driving could have provided an escape. And with all four the matter of a couple seconds would have meant no accident. On my side of the equation they were accidents; from the other drivers view more a case of god-was-I-an-idiot.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:38 AM
pendgwen pendgwen is online now
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Accidents due to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Not to mention the number of times a decent driver might be distracted, or just zoning out, expecting traffic to behave as it normally does.
Are not because of back luck. They are due to the specific behavior you described.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by enipla View Post
I've been driving for 43 years. I do about 15,000 miles a year, including some of the worst snow/ice conditions many people will never see. I've never been involved in an accident regardless of fault.

There is some luck involved, as I've never been rear ended say at a traffic light. But for the most part, luck has very little to do with it.
You are not the average driver. Much of your driving is done in low-traffic conditions, where you yourself are the main variable.

One memorable day, I was merging onto the freeway. I checked over my shoulder to see if I had a clear spot. I looked back straight to see that just at that precise moment, there was now a major slow-down right in front of me.

I laid down rubber coming to a stop--and even so, I very nearly rear-ended the car in front of me.

Think about that--from normal traffic conditions to needing to stop -- and all in the amount of time that was required to check my blind spot.

Another thing I have seen occasionally is three lanes of traffic in each direction; the middle lane is temporarily clear, with cars in the outer lanes basically even with each other. Every once in a while, both cars in the outer lanes will try to change lanes at the same time. If neither one is paying attention, there will be a collision. On the other hand, MOST of the time you can switch to the inner lane and nothing will happen.

The whole purpose of defensive driving is to compensate for the times when luck by itself is not sufficient. But that's really only a stop-gap measure; a quite effective one to be sure, but still only stop-gap. The only SURE way of not being in a traffic accident is to not be part of traffic.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:55 AM
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I came to a 4-way crossroads. The side I was on had a stop sign. I stopped, no other vehicles around. I started to make a left turn and I caught in my peripheral vision a flash of a moving vehicle coming from my right. I sped up and went straight across the road. I don't know what made me accelerate instead of slamming on my brakes or what made me not continue to turn. Either choice would have meant a big crash and possibly my death. The other vehicle was a fully loaded long log truck, the driver was speeding. It would have been bad. It was sheer luck I hit the gas and he missed me.
I have had plenty of near misses. Mostly due to wildlife vs me. I have a few not misses. One really bad. With wildlife it's just luck that keeps you safe. You cannot drive defensively against them.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post

I told my mom this story, and she insisted that it proved Jehovah's existence and protection.
You were lucky that you were the only person Jehovah cared about in that situation. I guess he was just laughing his ass off at all those other cars slamming into each other.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:13 PM
enipla enipla is online now
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Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
You are not the average driver. Much of your driving is done in low-traffic conditions, where you yourself are the main variable.
:shrug: Yes I am mountain rural now. But I see plenty of knuckle heads. This is ski country, with ski towns crowded with people in rental cars that don't know how to drive in snow or know where the hell they are going.

I also spend 2 weekends a month in Denver. I see traffic.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:43 PM
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In a few cases I am quite ashamed of, I avoided accidents due to the luck of another driver paying attention. For whatever reason, I made some stupid move, such as not adequately checking a blind spot, and it was only the defensive actions of another driver that prevented an accident. If two of us had been idiots that day, there would have been an accident. Fortunately these are few and far between, and I try to learn from them.

Another instance that was luck in a way was on a very slick and icy road. I thought I was giving adequate following distance of hundreds of feet, but when the car way in front of me stopped, and I tried to, there was just nothing. This was pre-anti-lock brakes, so as I was modulating the brakes trying to slow down at all. I kept the car from spinning, but each time I'd lock the brakes, the car would slide to the right due to the crown of the road. I eventually came to a stop with the front of my car about a foot past the back of the stopped car, but off to the right.

The lesson is, no matter how slow you are going and how much following distance you allow, it still might be too fast for conditions, and inadequate.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I have had plenty of near misses. Mostly due to wildlife vs me. I have a few not misses. One really bad. With wildlife it's just luck that keeps you safe. You cannot drive defensively against them.
The wildlife around here which fits that description is deer. Often at certain times of year you will see them spurt across the road ahead of you. And every few years when they decide to spurt it happens that their path will intersect with your vehicle--and there is not enough time to react.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:28 PM
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Late last summer my gf asked me to move my car from where it was sitting in our "parking area" at home. We were working on straightening up our two-car garage, so all the cars were parked outside.

I moved my car to the spot as requested. She then started up her truck and backed up right into my driver's side door.

My car was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:38 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Originally Posted by pendgwen View Post
Accidents due to this:


Are not because of back luck. They are due to the specific behavior you described.
Yeah - valid observation. But I suggest that the vast majority of average drivers are distracted or on auto more than they would admit - and are just fortunate that nothing unusual occurs during those times.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:41 PM
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If the question is asking if defensive driving is enough to ensure you’ll never get into an accident due to the clumsiness of others then I’m pretty sure the answer is no. I’ve been in two “real” (but not serious) accidents, one of which was absolutely my fault (driving round a bend too fast in the rain). But I don’t think any amount of reasonable defensive driving could have saved me from the other, where I was stopped at a traffic light and hit by a car that bounced off another in the accident that unfolded in front of me.

I’d be more curious about how many accidents would still occur if *everyone* was being diligent and defensive. My accident was just bad luck from my perspective, but was caused by someone making a reckless (but not wreckless!) turn across traffic. I’d guess that there would be a non-zero but negligible compared to current rates number still remaining, especially if we count substance impairment as “non-diligent”.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:51 PM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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You were lucky that you were the only person Jehovah cared about in that situation. I guess he was just laughing his ass off at all those other cars slamming into each other.
Considering that I was His ex-follower at the time, maybe He was trying to rekindle an old flame.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:35 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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I'm reminded of surveys I've heard of, in which the vast majority of drivers consider themselves "above average"!
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
First off, I acknowledge that alert, defensive driving can cause one to avoid the vast majority of driving accidents. However, I have long felt that there are at least some potential accidents, which the average driver avoids simply because of luck. Or conversely, they fail to avoid due to bad luck.

I'm thinking about driving on a crowded urban expressway, and the guy in front of you just slams on his brakes. You can't keep an adequate interval because if you drop back, someone fills the space. Or you are driving in a neighborhood and a kid runs out between parked cars.

Every once in a while something will happen - maybe a car comes out of a driveway abruptly as I pass or a vehicle ahead will kick something up, and as I narrowly avoid it I'll think, "Boy, good thing I wasn't passing there a 1/2 second earlier/later..."

Not to mention the number of times a decent driver might be distracted, or just zoning out, expecting traffic to behave as it normally does.

My wife OTOH, disagrees.

Neither of us has been in an accident for a long time.

Any thoughts?
My thought is that I drive with enough space to stop whether someone "fills the space" in front of me or not. My husband is one of many who feel, without ever being able to justify it in words, that if someone merges in front of him because there is room to do so, his manhood is diminished in some mysterious way. That's why when we go somewhere together, I drive.

That said, I have been in I think three accidents in my 40+ years of driving life. Once I was in stop and go traffic and was looking at some cows in a field because I was so bored and ran into the guy in front of me. Another time I was really angry that I had driven all the way to the quarry and it had just closed so I drove home way too fast, hit a log next the the road and ended up at the bottom of a cliff. The third one, I came around a mountain corner in the rain and there was already a pile up of five cars right in front of me, I was the sixth. The only one I think wasn't my error was the last one, I would have collided if I'd been going twenty.

Last edited by Ulfreida; 02-07-2019 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:23 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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I've noticed as i get older...I'm more susceptible to unconsciously following the stop light up the road rather than the one I'm sitting at.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:55 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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My wife thinks I tend to not leave enough space in front of me, and don't brake promptly enough when I see brake lights/red light ahead.

In 40-ish years of driving, I can recall 2 accidents with other vehicles. Once, maybe 30 years ago, I was merging onto an absolutely stop-and-go expressway traffic (80/94 SE of Chicago - an absolutely HELLISH road!) I thought it was enough that I got my nose into a gap. The bigass truck behind me disagreed, and did not stop until it had knocked off my driver's side mirror.

Then about 20 years ago, I backed out of my garage and hit a car parked in my driveway. Simply didn't look, and we rarely had anyone park there. ("It came at me from a funny angle, Tyrone!" )

I changed my driving habits as a result of each instance.

Far more frequently, I've had a sense of narrowly avoiding an accident - AFTER I would have been able to take any action. And there are occasional "close calls" when my wife is driving. When you avoid an accident by inches, I'm hesitant to attribute all of those inches to expertise. If things had been just a couple of inches otherwise, BOOM!

Had one over the fall. Was driving my sister's car on the way home from cycling a century. Bumper to bumper traffic also on 80/94 heading W this time, moving at a decent clip. All of a sudden, the cars ahead of me slam on their brakes. The 3 cars ahead of me hit each other. I slam on the brakes and stop an inch or 2 short. Heart is pounding as I see the guy behind me barreling towards me - finally stopping a couple of inches behind me. Yeah, I'm a decent driver, but I'm not going to take all the credit for avoiding that one. I was lucky.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:59 PM
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I've always felt that most accidents were not due to bad luck, but due to one or more persons improperly controlling their vehicle. Driving too fast, crossing the lines, following too closely, failing to stop.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:49 PM
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I'd say that it wasn't luck for at least one party to the accident, but is often bad luck for the other. My daughter's first accident was when stopped at an off ramp. A car hit the car behind her who hit her. (She did not hit the car ahead of her.) That was luck, and she said she was happy because her first accident was so not her fault.
I saw a woman in the left lane of a freeway get hit by a car who swerved across 3 lanes of traffic, hit her, then swerved back. Pure bad luck for her.
Sometimes it is both. I had an accident when someone came out of a parking lot without looking. (He had neither insurance nor license.) I couldn't avoid hitting him, but I was alert enough to not hit him hard - my airbag ddn't deploy. So that was a bit of both.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:20 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
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Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
My thought is that I drive with enough space to stop whether someone "fills the space" in front of me or not. My husband is one of many who feel, without ever being able to justify it in words, that if someone merges in front of him because there is room to do so, his manhood is diminished in some mysterious way. That's why when we go somewhere together, I drive.
It's not always about "manhood". If you're on a superbusy, superfast highway (like 1-35 between Dallas and Austin), when you leave a gap, it gets filled, which means you have to slow down and make another gap, which gets filled, etc. Its effectively impossible to allow an adequate following distance on that sort of road. Continually dropping back just means you are forever having people change lanes ahead of you whenever there's a gap, which is terrifying in and of itself.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:44 PM
TheMightyAtlas TheMightyAtlas is offline
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I’ve been rear ended while stopped at a stop sign. Literally just sitting there waiting to cross a main road and someone plows into the back at 20-30 mph. Teenager texting while driving.

I had a car back right out of a parking space and into the side of my stationary car (I had cars stopped in front of me and behind me). This happened in a tight shopping center lot. The lady was just not paying attention.

There is nothing I think I could have reasonably done to avoid either of these.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:02 PM
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I was in the McD's drivethru when a teen banged right into me bounced off and did it again. He was revving his engine still after I turned my car off and got out. He told the cop it scared him so bad he punched the gas instead of the brakes. My car had a dented bumper his car was totalled. Nobody believes me when I tell them about his car. But I have a copy of the police report. He of course had inadequate insurance and his insurance company tried to get some of mine. Didn't work. My comprehensive fixed my bumper. I felt I had NO fault in that wreck, I was at a dead stop.

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Old 02-07-2019, 07:58 PM
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Jargon alert. If you talk to Traffic People, they will never use the word accident. There are collisions, not accidents, and collisions have various contributory causes. Sometimes your actions are not a contributory cause. Sometimes nobody's actions contribute, but that's pretty rare. (If you're driving along a mountain road and a deer decides to drop off of the cliff on the right and cross the road, but it misjudges and drops down onto your car roof, no human's actions contributed to the collision.)

I wouldn't say that a collision where the other guy was at fault was caused by bad luck. It was caused by the other guy. But I could say that it was bad luck that you're the one who ended up part of that collision. And, yeah, you can't control the other guys*.

Hint: if you're on the freeway, don't follow any pickup truck with untied mattresses and box springs in it. One good gust of wind and those things go flying.



*I'm in California, guy and guys are gender neutral words.

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Old 02-08-2019, 10:03 AM
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A friend of mine was crossing the street when the light was green and she was crossing the street in the crosswalk.

The driver was texting, and claimed in court it was her fault for 'not watching where she was going." In the crosswalk with a green light.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
My thought is that I drive with enough space to stop whether someone "fills the space" in front of me or not. My husband is one of many who feel, without ever being able to justify it in words, that if someone merges in front of him because there is room to do so, his manhood is diminished in some mysterious way. That's why when we go somewhere together, I drive.

That said, I have been in I think three accidents in my 40+ years of driving life. Once I was in stop and go traffic and was looking at some cows in a field because I was so bored and ran into the guy in front of me. Another time I was really angry that I had driven all the way to the quarry and it had just closed so I drove home way too fast, hit a log next the the road and ended up at the bottom of a cliff. The third one, I came around a mountain corner in the rain and there was already a pile up of five cars right in front of me, I was the sixth. The only one I think wasn't my error was the last one, I would have collided if I'd been going twenty.
If you would have collided even at 20 then 20 was too fast for the conditions.

Going around a blind corner In the rain you just have to assume something will be there.

That said, as a matter of practicality most drivers do not do this. There are plenty of hills and turns in Ohio you can't see beyond. People are often driving on faith that there's nothing in the road on the other side. Youve just subconsciously weighed the risk and decided it's not high enough to justify driving like you've just arrived from Florida where you can see down the road for hundreds of yards most of the time.

Now take a driver from Florida and they initially will slow way down every time they crest a hill or go around a blind curve instinctually.


Even a lot of rear endings are avoidable. You learn this as a motorcycle driver. You stop with some distance, and stay in gear, watching behind you. If a vehicle approaches too quickly, you pull out to the side. Youre far more aware of your outs as well. (They're also more plentiful since they can be much less side space)

As a dirt bike rider and off roader I've avoided accidents in both cars and on motorcycles by making off the road one of my outs. That's not instinctual for most people but my brain is trained so the road itself means a lot less.

In any case you're much more aware of ways to avoid not at fault accidents as a motorcyclist because the risk of serious injury or death is equal to the risk of most fender benders. So you realize that in a car you've subconsciously accepted a certain risk of minor accidents in exchange for convenience.


To answer the OP , I think you are actually more curious how many accidents are luck ....given that most people drive in a way that assumes some risk and yet aren't in accidents every day.

Which is probably 90 percent of them. Barring times when people are just blatantly neglegent , like being drunk.

Your average driver is in an accident once every 18 years or about 12000 trips .... So essentially people drive in a way they've accepted a one in 12-14k chance of an accident each time they drive.

We can more accurately call it luck every trip you make without an accident.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:58 PM
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I have had several accidents where I wasn't the cause of the accident but the other driver was each time. Several times I was stationary. I don't think someone hitting a motionless car can be attributed to luck.

I remember, as a teenager, being the passenger when a friend's car began aquaplaning on a multi-lane road. Luckily the road was straight at that point and the adjacent lanes were empty, so he was able to let the car slow down and regain control. Had there been a bend in the road we would have drifted across the other lanes. Since his tires had the legal tread depth I guess an accident then would be bad luck.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
I have had several accidents where I wasn't the cause of the accident but the other driver was each time. Several times I was stationary. I don't think someone hitting a motionless car can be attributed to luck.

I remember, as a teenager, being the passenger when a friend's car began aquaplaning on a multi-lane road. Luckily the road was straight at that point and the adjacent lanes were empty, so he was able to let the car slow down and regain control. Had there been a bend in the road we would have drifted across the other lanes. Since his tires had the legal tread depth I guess an accident then would be bad luck.
Still simply driving too fast for conditions.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by enipla View Post
There is some luck involved, as I've never been rear ended say at a traffic light. But for the most part, luck has very little to do with it.
I have been rear ended at a traffic light.
I was at one of those long, lights (multiple directions, left turn lanes, etc. The ones where you will be stopped for a while.) There were cars in front of me. When I did come to a stop, there was no one behind me. While I was waiting for the light to turn, a woman drove into my car. She wasn't going so fast that I had any reason to believe she wouldn't come to a stop (so I had no reason to try to get out of her way). There was nothing I could have done to prevent that accident.

Most of my near misses have been luck. There is more than one time that I nearly caused a collision and just barely did not.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:11 PM
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One of the concepts I learned in the Flight Safety course I did many moons ago is called the Swiss Cheese model. Think of each individual factor in an accident as a slice of swiss cheese. In order for an accident to occur the holes in the cheese all have to line up in a particular way and any slice that doesn't is not an accident but a close call. Driving a car is no different. Luck has nothing to do with it. One accident I was involved with was due to me trying to make a left turn from a two lane (each way with a designated turn/through lane on the inner) road onto a side street. Had I waited for the turn light, had the other driver that decided to jump out of the inner lane to the outer and accelerate to beat the light not done so, had my car not had a design flaw that causes a very brief hesitation under hard acceleration (Subaru 2.5 Litre), had there not been a line of big ass pickups waiting to turn left in the opposite direction that blocked my view of the other lane, etc. I would have cleared the intersection. But I did not and the result was roughly $15000 damage total to the three cars involved.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:15 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampspruce View Post
One of the concepts I learned in the Flight Safety course I did many moons ago is called the Swiss Cheese model. Think of each individual factor in an accident as a slice of swiss cheese. In order for an accident to occur the holes in the cheese all have to line up in a particular way and any slice that doesn't is not an accident but a close call.
Hadn't heard of the Swiss Cheese model, but I've always thought of safety in terms of multi-digit security code that's being repeatedly guessed at by a gremlin; if he manages to correctly enter the whole code, disaster strikes. If you are operating according to best safety practices, the gremlin will have to guess at every single digit of the code; disasters will still happen, but they will be extremely rare. But the more lax you are about safety, the more digits you correctly pre-enter for the gremlin, leaving him with fewer digits to guess and making disasters more likely/frequent. Doing your pre-flight checklist from memory instead of actually reading it and doing point-and-call? You just entered a digit for the gremlin. Skip the checklist altogether? That's another digit. Didn't look both ways before taxiing across the runway? There's another digit. Cut just a few corners for years on end, and eventually the gremlin may guess what's left; cut a lot of corners, and the gremlin will probably guess the rest of your security code later this year.

Driving/motorcycling is no different. Adhering to best safety practices minimizes your odds of disaster, and every safety corner you cut bumps up your odds of disaster. Nothing is guaranteed: Some terrible drivers get through life without crashing, and some of the best drivers will rack up a crash or two because of something even they could not have anticipated, or because of their own very rare lapse of attention that just happened to happen at exactly the worst possible moment. That's luck.

Every time you have a close call behind the wheel? That's the gremlin screwing up your security code on the final digit. That's also luck. In the book Traffic, the author points out that every close call is an occasion when tiny factors could easily have tipped the situation into disaster; if a driver has frequent close calls, that's a clue that they should reassess their driving habits and look for ways to stop giving the gremlin so many free digits. In aviation, AIUI, close calls (e.g. runway incursions, violations of minimum aircraft separation distances in the air) are subjected to detailed investigations that look to understand what happened and how to ensure (if possible) they are not likely to happen again. My workplace is no different: when there's a safety incident, our safety group drills down to find root causes that can be corrected. ISTM that a good driver should do a post-incident review of every close call they have and think about how they might modify their driving habits to avoid a repeat.
  #36  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:33 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Good explanations all. I especially like the last couple, describing how multiple factors combine. I guess that is what i considered "luck - both good and bad. And I agree with the folk who suggest that an individual's own driving habits are the greatest single factor among those.

Rode w/ my wife driving in light snow yesterday. Have to admit, she drove slower, and braked earlier than I expect I would have if I had been driving.
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