Recently, an article was published by Slate.com which highlighted six highly
common motor vehicle crash scenarios. Most of these scenarios are encountered
by the average driver on a daily basis. Below is the list of these scenarios
and also helpful tips to avoid danger and hopefully a crash.
1. The Rolling Right Turn on Red
You approach a red light, and you’re about to turn right. You slow
down but don’t come to a full stop. As you continue to roll, you
look to your left to see if there are any cars coming at you from that
direction. You turn your head back to the right and suddenly, out of nowhere,
there’s a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
The rolling right turn on red requires some serious multitasking abilities,
and many drivers feel confident enough to attempt it on a regular basis.
However, most drivers don’t even know that the law requires us to
come to a full stop before turning.
The rolling right on red accounts for about 6 percent of all pedestrian
fatalities, and the number is on the rise. Even worse, 21 percent of the
deaths happen to kids. Even when a car is moving slowly, children have
a four times greater chance of dying than grown-ups.
Solution: Slow your roll when making this very simple transition. It’ll
cost you about three seconds, and you just might save a life.
2. Falling Asleep
Driving studies reveal that about 7 percent of all car crashes and 21 percent
of fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers. Recent
surveys find that 37 percent of all drivers have fallen asleep while driving at
least once in their lives, 11 percent during the past year, and 4 percent
during the past month. And our increasingly busy schedules are making
the problem worse.
When we’re exhausted, our brains can actually go into what is known as
microsleep—brief intervals during which our brains shut down and go offline
for few seconds. We don’t know when we’re microsleeping, are
about to, or even when we just did. As you can imagine, this can be highly
dangerous if driving.
Solution: Did you sleep less than seven hours last night? Is it late? Are
you alone in the car? No caffeine on hand? These are the elements of disaster.
If a number of these apply to your situation, it’s best to get out
of the car.
3. Loss of Control
It’s hard to imagine losing control of your vehicle, but it accounts
for 11 percent of all crashes. A study shows that 50 percent of all drivers
rank themselves in the top 20 percent of driver safety and skill. Yet,
most of us think about driving skill far too simply and have surprisingly
little technical mastery of our own vehicles.
Aggressive maneuvering and taking a sharp curve too fast account for about
5 percent of all crashes. Another 2 percent happen when we don’t
slow down for water on the road. The remainder of these crashes happen
when another driver or even a sudden turn in the road puts us in a surprise
situation that demands an instant response. Most people overreact and
overcompensate when faced with this situation.
Solution: You don’t have to crash your car all by yourself. Your
car, the weather, and other drivers already help make it happen. Be sure
to factor them into your thinking.
4. Into the Blind
Have you ever made a left turn at an intersection when there’s a
huge bus or truck blocking your view of what’s coming from the other
direction? Or cruise through a red light thinking that there won’t
be another car coming across your path? The data tell us that 12 percent
of all crashes happen when drivers do these things.
We seem to have this natural belief that if we can’t see something,
then it must not exist. Statistics remind us that this misunderstanding
Solution: Never assume. Always check for potential unseen obstacles.
5. The Rear-Ender
Your first job when driving: Don’t hit the car in front of you. Yet,
as simple as it sounds, hitting the car in front of us accounts for between
23 percent and 30 percent of all crashes.
We drive close to the car in front of us because we think it’ll get
us there faster. We also imagine that the driver in front of us will wait
until we’re done with our text before he locks up his brakes. Crash
stats clearly demonstrate that is not the case. Rear-end crashes are often
viewed as harmless fender benders. But sometimes cars can twist, flip
and cause massive damage to the things that get caught in between them.
Solution: Leave some space. You’re not getting there any sooner.
6. Distracted Lane or Road Departure
Your second job when driving is to stay in your lane. Thirty-three percent
of all crashes happen when we don’t stay in our lane, or even on the road.
Our belief in our multitasking superpowers strikes again. In addition to
the distraction of phones, our attention gets pulled by roadside crashes,
billboards, activities inside the car, and mind wandering. Humans are
not naturals when it comes to keeping an eye on several things at once.
Solution: Stow the technology and do your best to pay attention.
Source: Slate.com, Steve Casner, “Anatomy of Car Crash”