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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is widespread.
Solution: Never assume. Always check for potential unseen obstacles.
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.
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”