Human beings are the cause or part of the cause for 94% of all car crashes which occur on the roads.
When entering a car, you are responsible for your actions and the way in which you get from A to Z. By focusing on becoming a better driver you will arrive at your destination safer.
Any situations that arise during your trip, if concentrating correctly, will be handled in the correct way while still following the rules of the road and ultimately you can avoid collisions. Saving you money in the long run.
If we look at the difference in definitions of a crash compared to an accident, it will give us a clearer understanding as to why humans are to blame for crashes.
The definition of a crash is: “(of a vehicle) collide violently with an obstacle or another vehicle.”
The definition of an accident is: “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.”
From the above definitions, we can see that if a car is involved in any shape, way or form. It is classified as a crash and not an accident.
Although, it is understood that there are certain situations which may be caused by other factors except humans.
- Vehicle faults – 2%
- Environmental Conditions – 2%
- Unknown Factors – 2%
These factors account for a tiny percentage of the real reason. Even taking into consideration the above reasons, they are only responsible for a total of 6% of all crashes which occur.
The remaining 94% of all crashes are due to human error. Error which can be avoided through an understanding of the mental principles which lead to human error.
The three main mental principles for human error are:
- Perceptual Error
- Mental Resources
- Incorrect response
All these principles link to mental capacity in one way or another. Making sure your mental alertness is kept sharp, you can minimise any chances of these principles affecting your trip.
A perceptual error is one where critical information was below the threshold of being seen.
This means there was some obstruction to why the crash happened.
For example, the surrounding light was too dim, the driver was blinded by glare or the pedestrian’s clothing was not reflective and couldn’t be spotted in time.
Other circumstances could include perceptual misjudgment (a turn’s “sharpness” or another car’s speed or distance.)
These are all situations one would be able to avoid by:
- Keeping the correct following distance
- Adjusting your mirrors to the correct position
Helping you become a better driver on the roads, avoiding the perceptual error which arises.
The second issue which is more common, is where a driver recognises the critical information to make a situational decision, but the mental resources are not fully focused on the task at hand.
Resulting in “inattentional blindness” which is the phenomenon of not perceiving an object that you are looking directly at, causing the crash to occur.
Oftentimes, this will be the cause of many crashes.
The last issue which occurs, is one where the driver can process the information but the response to the information is incorrect.
For example, the car is skidding so I will look away from the collision that is about to occur, rather than taking the necessary steps to avoid the collision all together.
Another instance of this is where the person can act on the information being received but the response is wrong.
For example, the car in front of me is coming to a halt, instead of slowing down the driver’s response is incorrect causing him/her to accelerate into the back of the stationary vehicle.
There could be multiple reasons for these types of responses, many which include medical issues.
Although this type of response could be caused from fatigue, being under the influence or any instance where decision making is impaired or hindered. Leading to the same result.
Considering the above information, how is it possible to ensure your safety and the safety of others while operating a car?
There are several ways to avoid dangerous situations, by following the correct techniques and procedures taught during both the learners and drivers tests. Ensuring you are a competent driver.
To help prevent crashes, drivers need to address the following:
- Driving Style
- Driving Behavior
- Attitude towards Driving
- Patience on the roads
- Follow at a safe distance
- Obey the speed limits
Being an informed road user will reduce the chances of you being blamed for a crash or being involved in one, which leads to becoming a better driver.