General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

How can I explain this to myself: 4 car accidents in 6 months?

Asked by tinyfaery (43277points) June 1st, 2009 from iPhone

Twice this year someone has made an illegal left turn into my wife. Neither of these accidents were her fault. In March I rear-ended someone, totally my fault, and today someone made a right turn from the middle lane, and I couldn’t stop in time, so we collided.

I don’t believe in fate, or destiny, or any type of grand purpose or reason, and it’s at a time like this I wish I did. I’m just floored by this. I had never been in an accident before this year; not even a ticket. How can I explain this to myself? I can’t stop shaking my head and asking myself why.

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44 Answers

DragonFace's avatar

its time to move

_bob's avatar

C’est la vie?

Bad luck, I’d say. In 2003, I was in 2 serious crashes in less than 2 months. I came out without a scratch, but 2 cars were totalled. Haven’t been in an accident since.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

that’s not so unlikely
people are terrible drivers

Blondesjon's avatar

There is no way to get a “real” answer to this. Just be happy that you and your wife are ok.

Jeruba's avatar

I can understand your desire to explain what seems like more than happenstance, but to me there is no rational connection among them. The only place I see room for a pattern is in your incidents. I would ask first if some concern or state of mind—worry, agitation, depression, conflict, whatever—were occupying your attention, and second, what was the sequence of events. If her accidents preceded yours, they could have made you jumpy and nervous enough to change your behavior and cause what you were trying to avoid. Other than that, I think it’s no more meaningful than failing to find a convenient parking space or having your flight leave from the last gate on the concourse.

noelasun's avatar

I feel for you =(
But maybe now youguys have gone through your lifetimes worth, and are now off scot free??

DragonFace's avatar

God is calling you. i think you should answer this time

drClaw's avatar

Coincidence happens, I doubt it’s a sign of anything.

_bob's avatar

As @Simone_De_Beauvoir said, it’s not that unlikely, but even if it were, it would still be possible.

Let me give you an example: I buy a lottery ticket twice a week. The odds of hitting the jackpot are about 1 in 33 million. Pretty crappy, right? Still, some dude won about $20 million USD the other day.

TaoSan's avatar

The universe is telling you something: Take the bus.

Bobbydavid's avatar

Do you have equal luck playing lotto?

tinyfaery's avatar

@TaoSan I have been thinking about that! Seriously thinking about it.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Does it have anything to do with this sidebar question?
you really must have a good insurance plan

Facade's avatar

You can’t rationalize everything.

wundayatta's avatar

Last time I bought a car, I got rear-ended three times in two years, starting 2 weeks after I bought the car. I was looking for patterns, too, and I think I found one. No one’s run into me since.

_bob's avatar

@daloon Care to share the anti-fender-bender pattern with the rest of us?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@daloon: yes, please do tell because my own mother is caught up in some kind of “pattern.” I’d love to put an end to

Jeruba's avatar

@Facade, sure you can. But you can’t explain everything.

_bob's avatar

@Jeruba Sure you can. But you can’t be right all the time.

wundayatta's avatar

All my accidents happened on the highway when traffic was running very close behind. In two cases we were going between 50 and 60 mph, and the last case we were going only 10 mph. The first two happened when there was a sudden slowdown, and I barely slowed down in time to avoid hitting the car in front of me. The car behind me was not so lucky.

What I think is going on, is that usually, when traveling at speed on a very crowded highway, we look ahead of the car in front of us for warning (brake lights) of an impending slowdown. However, when following a taller or wider car like a minivan or a SUV, you can’t see the car ahead of the one ahead of you, and your only warning is the lights of the car ahead of you. There’s not enough time to stop if it is a sudden deceleration.

So the solution is either don’t follow the car ahead of you so closely, or drive in the slow lane.

The final accident happened when we were driving slowly in stop and go traffic. The guy behind me was new to town, and was gawking at the buildings and didn’t realize traffic had stopped again. There’s not much I could have done about that one. But in the first two cases, I think less aggressive driving would have saved me the aggravation of the accidents.

andrew's avatar

How many near misses have you been in? It may be time to reevaluate your defensive driving.

Or, you may have hit a string of bad luck.

Lupin's avatar

There are a few legal driving practices that occasionally lead to accidents.
1) Driving in someone’s blind spot and staying there because of you area unaware or are distracted – texting, radio, great conversation.
2) Allowing too large a gap – (yes too large, “i.e. being too safe”) between your car and the one in front. That larger gap encourages opportunistic type accidents by appearing to enable an aggressive driver to make a move. (This occasionally happens after a driver has an accident and promises Mother: “I will slow down and drive more carefully!”)
3) Unfamiliarity with the locale. (Did you just move?)
Ideally, you should learn the driving culture of your area and “go with the flow”. For example: If everyone else is going 70 on a certain road, you should go 70.
Of course there are the usual distractions: drugs, alcohol, texting, and now, the “There’s an App for that” iPhone.
Good luck This too shall pass.
I’ll stop for you. I’ve got the Kidde and my tools in the trunk.

Darwin's avatar

I suggest a defensive driving course if only to reacquaint yourselves with ways to deal with idiotic things that other drivers do.

Or start driving a surplus M1A1. You should probably remove the weapons first, though.

Jeruba's avatar

@bob_, I can’t? Nuts.

MacBean's avatar

@Jeruba—Most people can’t. I suspect you could.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

You can’t control other people’s driving.
If another route is available, you may want to consider that. 4 times in 6 months is to the point where you need to re-examine the situation.

I’m just glad that in these 4 accidents neither you or your wife were seriously injured.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I realise this is no comfort, but it is just an abberation of probability. Some people crash that shouldn’t, and people drive like maniacs without so much as a scratch.

andrew's avatar

@Lupin I respectfully disagree with your point #2—if you’re using the 5 second rule, you’ll have plenty of time to react even if someone cuts in front of you into the empty space—even more evident in a highway situation.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@andrew If you try to leave such a gap, people will move into the space. If you try to leave a gap between the new car and them, another car will move in, and so on until you are stopped and holding up all the traffic.

Darwin's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh – Actually I find that is not true. Most folks are fairly reasonable about spaces between vehicles. Those few who aren’t are better in front of me than behind me so I can see what other idiocy they might do.

Even with the cutting and the space leaving, your car is still moving ahead, typically at the appropriate speed for traffic in that area.

And later on, I can smile and wave as I pass the offending cutter-inner where he has been pulled over by the cops for reckless lane changing or some other stunt.

cak's avatar

The last accident I was in, I was rear ended…blah! I remember the police officer asking me how many accidents I had been in, (he didn’t ask time period) I told him the number. He said that statistically, if you are in two accidents, you will most likely experience one more accident in your lifetime. Now, I don’t know about 4 or more…maybe (unfortunately) you are evening out the odds for someone else.

If you can truly examine each time, and say that there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome, I’m sorry…it just sounds like rotten luck.

Have you considered buying a huge land yacht and painting it caution orange? No one can miss you and will probably avoid you, very easily! :)

I’m glad you are in one piece and sorry that you were in an accident.

Cardinal's avatar

@Facade: You are wrong, you can rationalize ANYTHING. It may not make any sense to anyone but yourself. But hey, you will be happy!

RedPowerLady's avatar

Perhaps the street cops in your area have lowered their street coverage. This happens from time to time in our city and in certain areas of the city. You can notice the changes when it happens as well.

Also you might consider that the school year and fiscal year are ending right now and people are under high-stress. Not just students are affected by the school year either.

It might just be an overwhelming lack of respect for driving and the road right now, in the place you live.

As I see it there are numerous ways to explain what has happened. Including the fact that it is not coincidence but I will not mention further as you don’t believe in that.

I’ve been in a very scary car accident myself and I am so sorry you’ve been in so many recently. On your own part I would suggest paying more attention to the road, being an assertive driver and judging for accidents, being awake while driving, not texting/eating/drinking/etc.. while driving. Anything to improve your awareness so you may be more able to avoid accidents. Not that they were your fault at all but just to give you some mental relief.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Darwin Maybe you’re right for normal sized gaps, but 5 seconds like @andrew recommends is excessive. Go ahead though, I’ll be the one slipping in front of you and getting where I need to go with less delay and less hassle.

andrew's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh There’s a big difference between leaving a gap when speeding down the highway and being assertive when you’re merging. If you’re talking about merging, then I wholeheartedly agree. Pussyfooting around merging is a great way to get into trouble.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@andrew Yes, I agree about merging, but in heavy traffic I always change lanes to jump around a few cars when someone leaves a big enough gap for me. I can understand why people leave big gaps, but I don’t think it is necessary for a confident driver. That said though, when I am following a vehicle that restricts my vision such as an SUV, truck, or a ute with a large obscuring rear end I do leave larger gaps.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, @MacBean, very flattering. Far from the truth, though. Overcoming a horror of error (and the paralysis that goes with it) was one of my hardest challenges, but the day came long ago when I understood that it’s not only okay to make mistakes but inevitable. In fact, it could be considered a kindness to others; I try to think of it that way. I’d just rather not make them while I’m driving.

augustlan's avatar

The drivers in your area suck? Seriously, I refuse to drive in Washington, DC unless I absolutely have to… maybe it’s the same where you live.

Darwin's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh – I’ll smile and wave at you as the cop is writing you a ticket for dangerous lane changes and speeding, and I will probably get to my destination before you get to yours.

casheroo's avatar

I used to fear driving in February, as I happened to always get into accidents in February (usually my fault, two were not though) Now, I try not to let the fear consume me. But, it’s always in the back of my mind.
I’d say you and your wife have some bad luck

Lupin's avatar

The folks in my area are very polite drivers. If you put your turn signal on, the person behind will let you in. I had a friend visit from NJ and he was a shockingly rude driver. We have 4 way stop signs here. The nearest traffic light is about 5 miles away. You take your turn and wave to the other folks. It’s nice. He pulled up to the sign, hesitated for a millisecond and went! I couldn’t believe it! He said “What were they doing, sleeping?” This is western NY. We’re all afraid of those crazies 400 miles away in NYC. They don’t hesitate at all. Very aggressive. I’m glad they’re not allowed to have guns. Different cultures…

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Darwin I do not consider myself a dangerous driver, and do not drive in such a way to attract the police. I am just assertive, and don’t sit in traffic when there is a quicker way. Of course I would not compromise my safety in doing so.

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