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How do drivers get away with so many near misses everyday?

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posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 06:54 PM
"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 already?

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 anyone explain?
edit on 26-8-2012 by WWu777 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 07:03 PM

Crashes happen all the time all over the place.

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 07:04 PM
Sheer luck,too busy yakking on the phone or buggering about with a sat nav to notice half the time


posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 07:20 PM

Originally posted by Vicker

Crashes happen all the time all over the place.

I know that, but most drivers take reckless risks that I don't understand, yet they never have an accident. People drive safer in America, but in Asia, they take many risks everyday and most don't end up in crashes. I can't explain it. Can you?

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 07:46 PM
I was in Egypt not long ago on their freeway surrounding Cairo. It's a perfectly modern road, at least four lanes per side. I would call it built "to specs." It would not seem out of place in America. But the Egyptians pay no attention whatsoever to the lanes. They make a four-lane road into a six-lane road. When it jams up, because of the heavy traffic, they just cram together, giving no quarter, and are 1/2 inch from the cars and trucks and busses beside them. Somehow they get through.

If we drove like that in America (or Canada or Germany or the UK) we'd get arrested. I expressed dismay when I saw this and our tour director said, "We trust each other" as his explanation. I've seen the same sort of behavior in Turkey and Greece.

Now the fact is that if you want to bring up the accident statistics, places like Egypt have far higher accident and fatality rates than the western countries. We sometimes like to brag how good we are. Germans will claim to be "best," for example, but the fact is, when you look at the stats, we're all pretty good and not that far off from each other. I think The UK ranks #1, and maybe France has a ways to go yet. In any case, I understand what you are saying. Given the way people drive, you'd think there would be more accidents. Why aren't there?

Because we really are good drivers. I'm serious. For most of us, our life is driving. We drive the morning and evening commute every day. After years and hundreds of thousands of miles and daily practice, we know how to do it. We can drive 60 mph six inches from the car in the next lane, let him merge into our lane as we zip over into his for a quick exit to the next freeway, and it's done like choreography with total competence. Our senses expand to the end of our vehicles.

Other cultures have skills we don't. The Nuer in Africa know everything there is to know about their cows. That's their livilihood. It's how they measure their wealth. They know everything about them and we don't have a clue. Farmers know everything about the weather and crops. Fishermen know how to survive on the sea.

But we are drivers. And that's why we get away with so many near misses.

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 08:29 PM
I live in a city and people drive like idiots. Luckily there are as many aware drivers (know there surroundings and stay attentive at all times) as there are idiots. Driving here means multiple near misses a day due to the idiots who miraculously somehow got a drivers license. I am 100% on board with you here. How do these people make it through even an hour of driving without crashing. Granted we all make mistakes here and there but I have seen people cut every lane of traffic get right up on bumpers swerving in and out of different lanes every worst case there is and somehow these fools survive. Blows my mind dude

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 08:59 PM
This topic is of interest because just yesterday, I was pondering the exact same question.

My answer to myself is that driving as we do falls into a natural tendency of human capabilities being adaptable to a task. If that were not so, the mounting accidents and deaths would bear witness to an unsafe practice and there would be a stop to it either by official action or self-imposed limits. The riding of motorcycycles is an borderline area where such dangerous practices are allowed simply because most of the possible resulting damage is done to the motorcyclists and not other bodies or equipment. So, in effect, there are some natural rules and limitations that control why we are allowed to control before the situation becomes absurd. The basic principle is that we can cope with the situation of driving in a successful manner,

If you need more of an argument, why does a typical squirrel leap dangerously from tree to tree when, usually, it is safer on the ground (at least from having fallen). The answer is the squirrel has that innate capability that allows it to do so...and it wants to, and completes amazing leaps probably without thinking it just did such a jump. Same way with humans propelling themselves at fast speeds and moving within inches of death many times per trip.

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 09:01 PM
I think the same way that you do when I drive in New Jersey. These people come flying on to the highway merging into traffic with no thought. How do you not care that you're pulling into traffic going double your speed?

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 09:46 PM

Originally posted by enjoies05
I think the same way that you do when I drive in New Jersey. These people come flying on to the highway merging into traffic with no thought. How do you not care that you're pulling into traffic going double your speed?

By the time they're into the faster traffic, their speed is equal to that faster traffic. Otherwise, they would be rammed into.
Once you've been driving for a while, your vehicle is like an extension of your body.

posted on Aug, 26 2012 @ 10:25 PM
reply to post by snowspirit


Once you learn to drive you won't really put yourself in harm's way unless you are a complete buffoon.

posted on Aug, 27 2012 @ 08:03 AM
Going by your thread title...

1.By not driving faster than your guardian angel can fly.
2.By the hair of their chiny,chin,chins...dumb,blind luck!

posted on Aug, 28 2012 @ 11:41 AM
I have another question. How is it that most drivers don't seem to check the other lane when changing lanes? Obviously, if you change lanes on the road without looking, you will often collide with other vehicles. It's a no brainer.

So how do most drivers seem to barely look before changing lanes and get away with it? Are they looking so fast, perhaps a fraction of a second, that I don't notice? If so, are they really checking the rear and side mirrors and turning to look at the blind spot next to their vehicle (by the book), all in a fraction of a second? How can a driver check two points in a split second without turning his head? Most drivers I've seen are somehow able to do this. What is their secret?

Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question. I just don't get it.

posted on Aug, 28 2012 @ 07:43 PM

Originally posted by WWu777
are they really checking the rear and side mirrors and turning to look at the blind spot next to their vehicle (by the book), all in a fraction of a second? How can a driver check two points in a split second without turning his head? Most drivers I've seen are somehow able to do this. What is their secret?

Some drivers are able to just glance into their rear view and side mirrors quite quickly. Just practice.
You really do need to glance over your shoulder though, there are usually blind spots.

Some try to do all of the above and fail, and eventually someone is in the lane in their blind spot, and they do end up hitting them. I think most side swipes are because of carelessness.....

I've seen drivers try to keep track of the cars around them, and try to make sure they see where all of those drivers are at all times, but sometimes someone sneaks in out of nowhere....

Always check your blind spots, don't hurry your driving experience, it'll come naturally eventually.

posted on Sep, 8 2012 @ 02:05 PM
I have another theory why accidents and collisions aren't as high as they should be. Perhaps our survival instinct heightens our sixth sense to anticipate dangers before they occur? That seems very likely and reasonable. This would be one of the intangible factors that explain why logic doesn't play out as it should.

Btw, don't you guys hate it when you are driving in crowded cities, and it feels like everything is an obstacle? For example, if you are in the right lane, you often have to veer to the left lane, because right lanes are often blocked up by parked cars that take up the whole right lane. But if you are in the left lane, then some dufus always tries to make a left turn and hold you up, disallowing you from going through a green light, but you can't pass him up on the right either, because cars and scooters are swooshing by you on your right side. So you are stuck behind the driver trying to make a left turn, and you can't pass him up, all of which causes you to miss the green light so that you have to wait at another red stop light. Thus either way, whether you are in the right or left lane, you seem to lose. Doesn't that suck? I hate that. It's so frustrating.
edit on 8-9-2012 by WWu777 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 03:58 AM
What I hate the most is when I am on winding mountainous roads, where you can barely see what lies ahead in front of you due to the twists and turns, and yet there is always some idiot trying to pass you up even on double solid lines when you cannot see very far in front of you. Aren't they afraid of a head on collision? WTF is going on in their heads? I especially hate it when they are coming from the other side, in which case, they are risking a head on collision with YOU by passing up another vehicle unsafely! Then you have no choice but to pull over to the curb, in case he doesn't pass in time! It's crazy! What kind of a dufus would risk a head on collision like that?! WTF?!

posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 07:12 AM
Want to be scared out of your wits? Forget bungee jumping, skydiving, and roller coasters. Get a Taxi in Japan, or a Tuk Tuk in Thailand. You may need to bring a change of pants.

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