Posted by: safedriver | August 12, 2013

Is it an accident or a collision?

DSC00131We’ve grown up hearing how at times words can be hurtful. I’m sure we’ve all said things that we may regret later in life. We’ve also said things that essentially mean very little. I think it’s all about how you take what’s been said. To some people, words mean very little. They’re just words. To other people, they have a meaning; a belief.

In the media we often hear about MVA’s; motor vehicle accidents. Whether it’s a single vehicle only or multiple vehicles involved. The word that is constantly miss-used is ‘accident’. It’s not an accident that a single vehicle crashed into a tree or did a roll over. It was a crash or a collision. The driver made a poor decision. When two or more vehicles crashed it was no accident, it was also a crash or a collision. What’s the difference? Lots.

It’s part of a belief really. Collisions are predictable and preventable. It’s time to think outside the box and not just the word but also the belief. If a driver runs through a red light and hits another vehicle going through a green light, that’s no accident. It was done on purpose. The driver going through the green light needed to notice the driver approaching the red light wasn’t slowing and therefore needed to wait until they passed. The driver approaching the red light needed to pay attention to the traffic light and stop accordingly. This is only one example, but it’s a huge example as it happens every day within our driving community.

If you believe these are accidents then they will happen to you. If you change not just the word but the mentality to ‘crash’ or ‘collision’, then you’re making the switch to believing they are preventable. When people say that accidents will happen, sure but these are collisions and they are preventable when you put some proactive thought to them. Let’s go into more detail with more examples of what people call ‘accidents’.

An oncoming driver moves into your lane on a two lane highway and has a head on crash; move onto the shoulder once you notice them entering your lane and never assume they will make it back to their lane in time. A driver slides up behind you on a slippery road surface at a red light or stop sign and hits the rear of your vehicle; accelerate ahead or into open space such as a lawn, parking lot or open lane to avoid them. Single vehicle crashes when the driver loses control and either hits something or rolls their vehicle; stay focused on driving and remove all distractions from inside the vehicle. How can you call a crash that involved a distraction as an accident when the driver purposely took their attention away from driving and onto something else?

When drivers make a choice of either doing or not doing something safe and logical, how can they be called accidents? They made these choices on purpose. Most crashes or collisions are preventable. Considering that 90% of crashes are driver error, how can people still call them ‘accidents’? I know this may sound harsh, but it’s true. Make decisions early so you can decide what the proper action should be and begin to look out for the other driver, cyclist or pedestrian. Think about “what if?” before you decide anything and never assume the other driver will change what they’re doing to avoid coming in contact with your vehicle. Be part of the solution by making better choices so that collisions can be avoided.  Changing your wording and mentality can make a big difference in road safety and that’s no accident.



  1. Reblogged this on Young Drivers of Canada and commented:
    Statistics show that more than 90% of collisions are caused by driver error. Young Drivers teaches our students how to watch out for other drivers errors – mistakes that often result in collisions that could have been prevented or “accidents”. Read this great post by Director of Training Scott Marshall – If we start throwing out the word accident, maybe it will help make our roads safer.

  2. Use to work for Ryder Logistics out on the west coast of BC. They said every accident is avoidable. I guess who ever wrote that into the company policies never drove Vancouver or Victoria and did it to cover managements asses.

  3. Good article. There’s a whole movement to “drop the A-word, particularly in reference to drunk driving:

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