July 11, 2010


Mercedes Crash test (500x219)
It's summer driving season, a great time to think about safety. We don't want to become human crash test dummies.

What were drivers doing when fatal car crashes occurred? Making turns? Driving fast?

Cause And Effect

Here are findings using US data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) in the current issue of Wired.

Fatal car crashes while (800x467)
You've heard of the 80/20 rule. Here, the two riskiest activities --- going straight and negotiating a curve --- account for 83.7% of the fatal car crashes. Add turning left and the total reaches 89.8%. Even if you guessed at the risks correctly, did you expect such skewed results?


Statistics tell us what happened but not why. Maybe most accidents occur when we're going straight because that's what we do most of the time. Some long stretches of highway are straight to the point of boredom. So designers add curves, which has other consequences.

You've probably heard that most accidents occur near home. Maybe that's because that's where we start or end our trips. Maybe we're less attentive in familiar surroundings?

By Extension

Going straight to our destination without any obstacles can be dangerous. It's difficult to know what to do. Turning right is safe (relatively speaking) but keep doing that and you won't get far.

What about the financial world? We don't have paved roads with large signs to our destination. Instead, we take a Financial TRAIL and face many obstacles
  • external: such as economic downturns, investment returns, inflation
  • internal: such as self-control, health, ambition
Our destination changes. Living longer takes more money as do unexpected medical expenses. Either can easily deplete our savings and stop us short of our goals. We like navigation systems in our cars yet we ignore financial planning. We often prefer to follow our noses and hope things turn out well. Could that be a recipe to crash?


Podcast 74 (3:30)

direct download | Internet Archive page

PS Please drive safely.

1 comment:

auto finance said...

I don't know why, but the graph cracked me up. Of all the reasons to crash your car... the most frequent perpetrator is driving straight?