Did you know that human error is a factor in almost every car accident that happens on the road? For reference, more than 90% of accidents are caused by human error.
Human error is deadly and this is no different for an innately dangerous task like driving. When you’re behind the wheel of a cage of metal weighing more than a ton, the consequences of human error are magnified.
Because of this, you need to understand how human error plays into car accidents. Understanding this link will help you appreciate the importance of giving your best effort every time you get in the car.
To streamline this process for you, we’ll explain how human error leads to car accidents below.
Before we get started, you should understand that human error is inevitable.
You and any other drivers are innately imperfect, which means that you’re prone to making mistakes. This is the basis of human error, something that everyone is affected by.
To understand this, picture needing to complete a repetitive task like placing letters into envelopes and sealing them. Now imagine doing this yourself and picture this task being automated by machinery.
Which method do you think is more effective? It’s certainly the automated strategy because the element of human error isn’t involved.
Automation means perfection every time, something that humans just cannot do. You’re affected by factors like your emotions, feelings, and impulses. As a result, your performance is not always on point.
This directly translates to driving because human errors will happen while driving. This can manifest in several different ways, which we’ll take a look at below.
The first behavior of human error that causes accidents is distracted driving.
Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for car crashes and it is fully attributable to human error.
Choosing to distract yourself, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is a mistake. Driving requires your full focus at all times, so anything that takes away from this is an error.
There’s never a good reason to check your phone, look in the back seat, fiddle with your navigation system, or do anything else that diverts your focus. It’s incredibly dangerous and makes you more likely to cause an accident.
To imagine this, picture driving on a road with a green light. The coast may seem clear, so it might seem safe to check your phone.
During the time it took you to glance down at your phone, the light turns yellow and the car in front of you decides to stop. If you don’t look up quickly enough, you’ll rear-end the stopped car in front of you.
There’s never a scenario where driving distracted isn’t a glaring error and it causes accidents like nothing else.
Another driving behavior caused by human error is driving while impaired.
Any form of impairment, whether that’s alcohol intoxication, being high on marijuana, or fatigue, will make you a worse driver. This is the nature of impairment – it makes it more difficult to perform.
The human error in this situation plays out in two ways.
First, deciding to drive while impaired is the first mistake. You should never drive while impaired to any extent. You cannot fully focus on the road and handle your vehicle effectively, even if you think that you can.
The other aspect of this is that impaired driving will cause you to make driving errors. You won’t be thinking clearly and this means making choices that are dangerous and cause accidents.
You can’t argue that impaired driving isn’t an error because it makes you drive poorly.
Another aspect of human error is making judgment mistakes.
We mentioned making poor driving choices as a result of impairment above, but it can also happen without impairment. Some people simply aren’t skilled drivers and this leads to them making choices that endanger everyone else on the road.
For example, you’re likely familiar with the driver that turns out onto the road and forces drivers to slow down or fully stop to avoid hitting them. This is an error in judgment because the turning driver inaccurately judged how big their turning window was.
This can happen in other scenarios, too. Driving requires a lot of quick thinking, which leaves plenty of room for coming to the wrong conclusion.
Whether this results in turning without enough time, failing to brake quickly enough, merging into a lane without enough room, or running a red light because you thought you’d make it, there are many judgment mistakes caused by human error.
When a driver makes a judgment error, it requires other drivers to react to avoid an accident. This means that you’re relying on other drivers to keep you safe, something that is a major error in itself.
As a final aspect of human error, drivers can make mechanical failures.
When you think of mechanical failure and vehicles, you probably envision something malfunctioning inside the car. This is possible, but the human error version of this is making a mechanical driving mistake.
This can crop up in several different ways, but each results in doing something incorrectly while driving.
For example, imagine needing to make a turn. Rather than turning into the correct lane, you might turn into the oncoming lane.
Alternatively, picture backing up at an intersection because you’re blocking it for pedestrians to cross. After backing up, you may forget to switch back into drive and you’ll hit the car behind you when the light turns green.
Mechanical failure speaks to operating your vehicle incorrectly. With so much to take in while driving, it’s easy to do something wrong. Nonetheless, this is a result of human error and makes an accident more likely.
While there are many causes of car accidents, most can be traced back to some variation of human error. Humans will inevitably make mistakes, but few are as impactful as those made behind the wheel of a car.
A few driving behaviors caused by human error include distracted driving, driving while impaired, making judgment errors, and mechanical failures. All of these lead to worse driving, which creates a perfect situation for an accident to occur.
While you can’t always avoid human error, you can do your part by being a safe and attentive driver at all times! Never drive distracted or impaired and don’t take any risks!