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How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

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How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Scepcop » 27 Aug 2012, 07:42

"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?
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 27 Aug 2012, 20:37

SCEPCOP wrote: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?

Like you, I also tend to be one of those stressed (or as I like to call it, cautious, ok...overly cautious) drivers. To answer this portion of your question, I'd say that we are all individuals with individual fear/stress points. To take a wild arse guess I'd say that it has something to do with our self destructive side, our thrill seeking side, our past experiences, etc. Then again, there's a saying around here that seems to fit perfectly in this situation, "You can't fix stupid".

It has always astounded me to watch NASCAR with all those drivers going at extreme speeds in such a close pack, weaving in and out for position. Granted, those are what we call professional drivers, in specially built cars in a basically controlled environment but how they do it with what seems to be ease and grace just amazes me.
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?

Yes, another point that I can relate to. I have horrible depth perception but better than average peripheral vision and my eyesight is starting to make me feel like Mr. Magoo.
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 28 Aug 2012, 07:02

I hate cars. I think everyone who drives is clinically insane in the sense the are habitually endangering themselves without any awareness of being a bag of meat in a high velocity package. I continually thanked our Ford for divine intervention in saving my life on the road. Finally gave up driving.
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Scepcop » 29 Aug 2012, 00:35

Twain Shakespeare wrote:I hate cars. I think everyone who drives is clinically insane in the sense the are habitually endangering themselves without any awareness of being a bag of meat in a high velocity package. I continually thanked our Ford for divine intervention in saving my life on the road. Finally gave up driving.


How do you get around then?

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.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby ProfWag » 29 Aug 2012, 02:01

Scepcop wrote:
Twain Shakespeare wrote:I hate cars. I think everyone who drives is clinically insane in the sense the are habitually endangering themselves without any awareness of being a bag of meat in a high velocity package. I continually thanked our Ford for divine intervention in saving my life on the road. Finally gave up driving.


How do you get around then?

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.

I can actually, almost agree with you on this one Scepcop. Myself, I check my rearview mirror every few seconds and keep tabs on who is coming up on me and then, if I change lanes, I try to physically check over my shoulder first. Can't speak for other drivers though and my best guess is that it's divine intervention... :o
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Arouet » 29 Aug 2012, 03:40

Why are we presuming that most drivers don't check their mirrors or blind spots before changing lanes?
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby really? » 29 Aug 2012, 04:55

If what Winston says actually occurs it would be an interesting study to learn how drivers avoid collisions.
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 29 Aug 2012, 06:57

Arouet wrote:Why are we presuming that most drivers don't check their mirrors or blind spots before changing lanes?

From my perspective, it's not that they don't check, it's that they drive as bad as I do. :D
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 29 Aug 2012, 13:11

Scepcop wrote:
Twain Shakespeare wrote:I hate cars. I think everyone who drives is clinically insane in the sense the are habitually endangering themselves without any awareness of being a bag of meat in a high velocity package. I continually thanked our Ford for divine intervention in saving my life on the road. Finally gave up driving.


How do you get around then?



I don't get out much. I mostly walk when I do. Sometimes I have to take a bus. My hypocrisy pains me. I still eat pig. I let my roomates do most of the driving the commune needs. I am royally depressed and stop before I say something I regret.
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Scepcop » 09 Sep 2012, 03:02

Arouet wrote:Why are we presuming that most drivers don't check their mirrors or blind spots before changing lanes?


I said that it SEEMS that they don't. Maybe they do, but they do it so fast that I don't notice. But even if so, how do they do it that fast, in a fraction of a second?

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.
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Re: How do drivers get away with many near misses everyday?

Postby Scepcop » 09 Sep 2012, 16:59

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?!
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