A traffic collision, also known as a traffic accident, motor vehicle collision, motor vehicle accident, car accident, automobile accident, road traffic collision, wreck (USA), car crash, or car smash (Australian) occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction, such as a tree or utility pole. Traffic collisions may result in injury, death, vehicle damage and property damage. A number of factors contribute to the risk of collision including; vehicle design, speed of operation, road design, road environment, driver skill and/or impairment and driver behaviour. Worldwide, motor vehicle collisions lead to death and disability as well as financial costs to both society and the individuals involved.
The world’s first road traffic death involving a motor vehicle is alleged to have occurred on 31 August 1869. Irish scientist Mary Ward died when she fell out of her cousins’ steam car and was run over by it.Traffic collisions can be classified by general type. Types of collision include head-on, road departure, rear-end, side collisions, and rollovers.
Many different terms are commonly used to describe vehicle collisions. The World Health Organization use the term road traffic injury,while the U.S. Census Bureau uses the term motor vehicle accidents and Transport Canada uses the term “motor vehicle traffic collision” Other terms that are commonly used include auto accident, car accident, car crash, car smash, car wreck, motor vehicle collision personal injury collision road accident, road traffic accident,road traffic collision,road traffic incident . road traffic accident and later road traffic collision, as well as more unofficial terms including smash-up, pile-up, and fender bender.
Some organizations have begun to avoid the term “accident”. Although auto collisions are rare in terms of the number of vehicles on the road and the distance they travel, addressing the contributing factors can reduce their likelihood. For example, proper signage can decrease driver error and thereby reduce crash frequency by a third or more.That is why these organizations prefer the term “collision” rather than “accident”.
Reducing Road Crashes
A Shared Responsibility
Road safety is a shared responsibility. Reducing risk in the world’s road traffic systems requires commitment and informed decision-making by government, industry, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. It also requires the participation of people from many different disciplines, including road engineers, motor vehicle designers, law enforcement officers, health professionals, educators, and community groups.
Reducing Road Crashes
Road traffic crashes are predictable and can be prevented. Many countries have shown sharp reductions in the number of crashes and casualties by taking actions including:
Raising awareness of, legislating and enforcing laws governing speed limits, alcohol impairment, seat-belt use, child restraints and safety helmets.
Formulating and implementing transport and land-use policies that promote safer and more efficient trips; encouraging the use of safer modes of travel, such as public transport; and incorporating injury prevention measures into traffic management and road design.
Making vehicles more protective and visible for occupants, pedestrians and cyclists; using daytime running lights, high-mounted brake lights and reflective materials on cycles, carts, rickshaws and other non-motorized forms of transport.
Recommendations for policy-makers
The World Report on Road Traffic Injury and Prevention (WHO) suggests:
Identify a lead agency in government to guide the national road traffic safety effort.
Assess problems, policies, institutional settings and capacity relating to road traffic injury.
Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action.
Allocate financial and human resources to address the problem.
Implement specific actions to prevent road traffic crashes, minimize injuries and their consequences, and evaluate the impact of these actions.
Support the development of national capacity and international cooperation.
Tips on How to avoid Car Accidents
Defensive driving is defined as “Driving to save lives, time and money, in spite of the condition around you and the action of others.”
Below are useful tips on how you can avoid car accidents.
Before leaving the house there are some things you would need to have with you always:
A driver’s license or permit – whenever you get called on the road by the officer, they would ask this from you.
Car’s Papers – whenever you get into an inspection or an accident you would need the papers to show to the officers.
Cellphone – whatever happens to you or the others on the road you can call the police, emergency or fire fighter’s hot line. Just remember, “Don’t talk on the phone or text and drive.”
First things first, when you get on your car, you should check your B-L-O-W-B-A-G. It stands for:
Brakes – check your brake fluids and brake pedal. You wouldn’t want to have a broken brake on a rainy weather will you?
Lights – check your headlights, brake lights and signal lights. This would help other vehicles to be aware of where or what you’re actions are.
Oil – check the oil itself and if there isn’t any oil leak.
Water – check the water if it’s full to avoid overheating. Check also for water leaks, don’t forget to check the windscreen washer bottle, too.
Battery – be careful in checking the battery, there are wires and cables that can electrocute you so wear a glove.
Air – check the air pressure of your car and that your tires have no damage or any holes in it.
Gas – check on your gas gauge or say hello to a traffic ticket. By all means, it’s not that hard to keep track of your gas gauge when it’s just there right in front of you. So go to your nearest station and refill.
After making sure you have all your road essentials, here are some safety on-the-road guidelines:
1. Slow down
Drive at or below the speed limit and make sure you don’t surpass it. Even when you see another car running at more than the speed limit, let him just do that even if he over takes you. Remember that police officers are hiding from the view of everyone. if you get caught driving too fast, they wouldn’t hesitate to give you that ticket.
2. Let other pass you
Everybody’s always in a hurry but never compete with them when they over take your spot on the road. They are the kind of drivers who are prone to accidents. Anyway, you’ll get to your destination sooner or later. So be patient and just let them pass.
3. Try to avoid driving in bad weather
Bad weather may include the rainy and snowy days. Keep your windshield wipers going when its raining or snowing to see the road properly. Dim your lights so other cars can see you. When you are in a blind corner or turning corner, honk your horn enough to make them know you are there. Control your speed limit or might as well drive at the limit of 40. Increase your braking distance.
4. Never get into a car with a drunk driver
Need I say more. You shouldn’t even be letting your drunk friend drive. A single bottle of beer can alter your ability to drive safely so help out a friend and drive him home.
5. Wear a seat belt
This is a universal rule, also it’s a state-law in all countries around the world. It would only take a second to put on that seat belt. Everyone riding the car should buckle up. Children, ages eight or below, should be in a booster seat. Pets should be carried or held properly by a person.
6. Keep your car and its accessories in good condition
Remember the B-L-O-W-B-A-G I just discussed above, it would be included in this category (it’s not really hard to remember a word that starts with blow, now is it?). Inflate your wheel and get it checked at least once in two weeks. Replace the windshield blade to streak.
7. Use your signal properly
Even when there are no vehicles around, make it a habit to use your signal light. Don’t use your signal light at the same moment you would be turning into a direction or during the change of lane. Signal in advance or a couple of seconds before you change lanes so that others behind you would know where you’re going and could slow down from afar.
8. Don’t tailgate
No matter how slow the traffic is, take at least two seconds before following the car ahead of you. Any less and you won’t be able to stop in time when the car in front of you slams on their brakes.
9. Keep your eyes moving
Break the habit of just staring at the car in front of you. Shift your eyes from your side-mirrors and rear-mirror. That way you would see the car behind you and spot dangerous situations before it happens. Time to turn on your multi-tasking powers.
10. Dim your lights when driving at night
If your lights are too high, you can blind other drivers and worse case is, he would lose control of his car’s steering and you know what happens next.
11. Avoid distractions when you are driving
If you need to read a map or newspaper, answer a text or call, drink or eat, then just pull over. It only takes a second or two of distraction to get in trouble.
Annual Global Road Crash Statistics
Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
Road crashes cost low and middle-income counties USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.
Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.
Annual United States RoadCrash Statistics
Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year
An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled
Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of helathy U.S citizens traveling abroad.