Let me preface this by saying I’m not an amazing driver. Sort of average at best, but this is not about me.
I have a friend who has now had 6 car accidents in the city we live in - she has had more in another city. I believe that all of these accidents have been ruled the other drivers’ faults - she has received settlements for injuries for all of them, I think, but I don’t think she’s doing it purposefully - she was 8 months pregnant for one, and had one or more of her children in the car for others and I just don’t think she would do that.
So, at this point I’m thinking she’s not much of a driver - surely defensive driving would have helped prevent some of these - no? Or is it possible to be an excellent driver and just have really bad luck? FWIW, I suggested that she should get a bus pass because her car obviously has a bullseye on it!
BTW - there is nothing riding on this - I’m just wondering what other people think.
It’s also a function of how much she drives. The more time spent behind the wheel the more likely you are to be in an accident. That said, it sounds like she’s not a very defensive driver. But she could just be unlucky, too.
Slid on ice into someone’s back end, inconsequential damage, my fault, no report. (mid 80’s)
Struck someone else from behind when traffic screeched to a halt, minor damage, my fault. (mid 80’s)
Struck car from behind when she started pulling around a corner and then backed up (and I was creeping forward watching oncoming traffic), the cop said the scratch on her bumper was not visible from a distance of more than 8-9" away, but she still claimed damages. My fault. (late 90’s)
Broadsided by kid who ran a red light at 3am. (1986)
Struck from behind (at speed) while stopped on an interstate (traffic jam, everyone stopped, this guy was too busy dicking with his radio) (1986)
Struck from behind while waiting to pull out of a grocery store parking lot. (1987)
Struck from behind (at speed) while stopped waiting to turn left into company parking lot. (1993)
Front end of my car driven over by the trailer of a semi who illegally turned right from a left turn only lane. (1994)
Struck from behind while 2 cars back from a light. (2005)
Probably between 7-10 instances where I was struck from behind with no damage that I could determine and I let them go without incident.
Am I a bad driver?
Oh, I haven’t had a ticket of any kind in 18 years.
I’ve had 4 in over 40 years, only one of which was my fault, and no injuries in any of them. Are the injuries to her or to the car? 6 accidents with injuries to her is an awful lot, since it means that someone was going fast enough to cause the injury, and/or not paying attention. One of mine was when a guy (unlicensed, uninsured) pulled out right in front of me on a fairly large street. I was able to stop fast enough so my airbag did not deploy and my car was still drivable.
But I’d need more details of her accidents to know for sure about whether her problems are just bad luck. I doubt it, though.
Some people are very unlucky, others have a penchant for putting themselves in a bad situation. It’s anyone’s guess where exactly that line is drawn and which side of it any given driver resides on, however with each successive incident Occam’s Razor would suggest that it’s the latter.
I haven’t actually driven with her for years, but last time I did it was sort of speeding, and swerving a bit, but not more than our contemporaries at the time. She does have three kids now - maybe she’s just really distracted so can’t avoid things? (FWIW, I seem to be avoiding people doing crazy things here every time I drive so that could be a factor.)
Following too closely behind a friend, who suddenly changed lanes and I ploughed into the back of a parked car. My fault.
It was a dark and stormy night, and a car had stalled in the right-hand lane. As I was looking in my rear-view mirror to see if anyone was going to slam into the back of him, my wife (fiance at the time) started yelling at me. DOUG! DOUG! DOUG! DOUG! So, my 2 or three seconds of looking in my rear-view mirror, coupled with two or three seconds looking at her made me plough into the back of a car in front of me turning left. My fault.
Driving to work, 80 KPH. Dude in front of me pulls over onto the soft shoulder. As I approach him, he starts to pull back onto the road. WTF? I’ll just go around him since no one is coming the other way, Well, he is actually in the process of making a U turn and didn’t catch me in his mirrors. So, he pulls onto the road. I decide to pull into the opposing lane and pass him, and suddenly he’s sideways on the road and I have nowhere to go but…BANG! His fault.
My SO’s 20-year-old daughter will tell you she’s a great, but just terribly unlucky driver. People seem to stop suddenly in front of her at an alarming rate. In the two and a half years we’ve been together, she’s had four accidents, and totaled two cars from rear-ending other people. But to hear her tell it, it’s never been her fault. Those stupid people stopped suddenly in front of her with no warning!
Well, maybe that one time was a little bit her fault…she had her phone propped up on the dashboard and was listening, just listening, to a movie streaming on Netflix. She wasn’t actually watching it, because that would be wrong.
(She’s a horrible driver. She gets red light camera tickets and speed camera tickets all the time, too.)
Similar story. For a while it seemed I couldn’t go a year without someone plowing into the back of my car while I was (legally) stopped at a stop sign, light or yield sign. I had soft tissue injuries only, and in NJ you cannot sue for pain and suffering for that. Fortunately I had very good medical insurance at the time, but I spent the next 3 or 4 days in pain from the whiplash. Then, for a change, someone went through a stop sign right across my line of travel and I was unable to completely avoid hitting her car. I ended up with a totalled car, mashed up knee and a cracked bone in my neck.
In every single case I was doing absolutely nothing wrong, and was in no way driving poorly.
I could tell you more stories about others in my family.
Getting into at least 6 accidents in 12 years, without having put in an unusually high amount of mileage in a high-risk setting strikes me as either the mark of a not-so-hot driver or someone with horribly bad luck (probably the former).
There are people who are fairly atrocious behind the wheel, but who manage to go their entire driving careers without logging an accident - such as my mother-in-law, who according to her daughter was a wretched driver but never had an official wreck, including the time she ran over a sewer worker emerging from a manhole (he ducked back down just in time). :eek:
I’ve lost count of how many accidents I’ve avoided by being a defensive driver. Seems like about every 6 months or so I have a “good damn thing I was paying attention because that other jackass wasn’t” near accident.
So, IMO either darn unlucky driver or non defensive driver (which is just another form of bad driver) or perhaps some of both.
-Did a crappy job parallel parking in my early twenties, dinged a BMW. My fault.
-Was behind a tire truck driving on a residential street, stopped when it stopped, didn’t get my ass into reverse fast enough when it decided to reverse and hit me. Their fault, but possibly could have been avoided if I were a bit faster on the uptake (I was honestly stunned that this truck decided to go into reverse on a residential street while I was behind it).
-Driving slowly on a wintry night, but not slowly enough, hit a patch of black ice and slowly slowly slowly slid into the truck in front of me, itself stopped because it had rear-ended a vehicle a few minutes earlier and stalled out. A minute later, I was, in turn, hit by a car behind me, and a car behind that one managed, barely, to slide into the ice-water-filled-ditch instead of hitting us. My fault, but pretty decent mitigating circumstances, IMO.
-Driving at night in the rain, with stopped traffic in the main lane of a 3-lane road, I got into the left-turn lane and got ready to take my turn. Before I could, a dude getting his kid from the daycare center to my right made a left-turn through the main lane of traffic and directly into my path. I plowed into him. His fault according to his insurance company, and I don’t think I could have done anything to avoid it, unless maybe I’d been driving a car with higher clearance so I could have seen him over the roofs of the main lane of traffic to my right.
So that’s four in about 15 years. I think of myself as a decent but not amazing driver.