"I've never understood the human propensity to pilot vehicles at unsafe velocities."
- Commander Data to Captain Picard in Star Trek Nemesis
I have a puzzling question that I asked a friend about recently while I was driving with him.
How do drivers get away with so many near misses or close calls with hitting other vehicles? Why aren't there more car accidents than there are
In Asian cities, many drivers do high risk maneuvers that are technically very dangerous with a small margin of error. Yet they get away with it
somehow, even if they do it everyday. It's surprising that there aren't more accidents than there already are. How do so many big city drivers get
away with it everyday, such as cab drivers and bus drivers?
Theoretically, you'd think that so many near misses with a small margin of error would result in a certain percentage of crashes. So for example, if a
driver had 10 near misses, one out of 10 of them should result in a crash or accident, based on the law of averages, you'd think. But many experienced
drivers have hundreds or thousands of near misses and yet never have an accident. How can that be?
Theoretically, the number of accidents should be 10x greater than what it is now.
For example, many scooters and motorcycles in Taiwan drive very dangerously. They come out of nowhere at high speeds. Some will zoom past a car just
pulling out or changing lanes. All it takes is for one driver to forget to check the lane he's turning into, and he would knock the scooter over,
which could kill the people on the scooter or put them in serious condition. And if the scooter is coming around the corner, then the car pulling out
may not even see the scooter coming. Also, at night it's harder to judge the distance of another vehicle based on its headlight alone, so misjudgments
in distance are more likely. Even worse, in Taiwan, for some reason, many scooters drive at night with NO HEADLIGHTS, which is very foolish. Yet
somehow they get away with it. I was told that some scooter drivers simply forget to turn on their headlights, while others are trying to save gas,
believing that the city lights are enough for them to navigate in.
Gee, don't these scooter drivers who drive with no headlights consider that cars might not see them and knock them over while pulling out or making
turns in front of them? I don't get it. Do some people hate their lives so much that they subconsciously take reckless risks in the hopes of ending
their lives? I know that the scooter fatality rate in Taiwan is high, but theoretically it should be much higher, so why isn't it?
I don't get how so many near misses and close calls don't result in a lot more accidents. How do many drivers get away with it everyday? Doesn't the
small margin of error of near misses guarantee that a certain percentage of them are going to result in crashes? If so, how do so many drivers get
away with many near misses everyday with no crashes?
As for me, I'm a defensive driver who drives safely and tries to leave a wide margin of error - in other words I leave space between me and other
vehicles. I even prefer driving slower if it is safer, but not too slow, more like a reasonable pace. The way I drive is very logical. I calculate
risk and try to leave a wider margin of error than most people do, so that mistakes can be reacted to more easily, all of which minimizes risk.
To me, the way I drive is totally logical. Driving with many vehicles around is also a little bit of a stressful experience. So I don't understand how
so many people can drive dangerously all the time, with no fear or anxiety, and yet have no accidents? I noticed this in the Philippines especially.
How do so many drivers experience no stress while driving, even with many near misses? Can someone explain?
Many drivers even seem to be changing lanes on the road or freeway without even turning their head to check the other lane, so I don't get how they
never hit other vehicles.
A friend told me that driving is like an art, not just a skill, so that a talented natural driver does not use logic or calculations or thinks about
"margins of error" while driving. Instead, he is confident that he will not hit other vehicles, even while performing risky maneuvers. He does not
think about risk, calculation, logic, safety or margin of error. Instead, the vehicle is like his body and he simply KNOWS he will not hit another
vehicle. I guess he may be right. I have heard professional drivers tell me that they are 100 percent sure they will not have an accident while
driving, because they simply "know" they won't. I don't know how they can be 100 percent sure of that, but for some reason, they say that.
He also said that the reason I have to use logic and risk calculation to drive, while others don't, is because people like me may not have good
spatial perception and so we have to rely on other senses and methods to drive safely? Maybe since I'm a deep thinker and introvert, I'm not as well
attuned to practical things, such as spatial perception between moving objects? However, I grew up being good at video games, so that helps give me
quick reflexes in reacting to situations.
But still, I don't get how all this can be logically possible. How can so many people take so many risks on the road everyday with no accidents? Can
edit on 26-8-2012 by WWu777 because: (no reason given)