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The Psychology of Car Accidents

How an Car Accident Can Affect Emotional Stability and Preventive Measures

In most car accidents, it is relatively easy to see the damage that has been done to the exterior of a vehicle. Also, if a person’s arm or leg was injured in the impact, a cast on one or both limbs is also easy to recognize. On the other hand, the psychological effect that an accident has on the human mind may not be detected by anyone until months or even years later. Because the mind itself is such a complicated network and chain of emotions and thoughts, it is not uncommon for car accident victims to suffer from its mental trauma.

Mental Trauma Experienced After Car Accidents

Based on information published by the National Center of PTSD[1], both men and women suffer from mental trauma after a car accident. For example, the mental trauma in men is about 25% of all cases of mental trauma types and it is the 2nd leading cause of mental trauma in women. In some of these cases, the mental effects can lead to long term lifetime problems that must be treated by a physician. Having said this, here are some of the emotional problems that car accident victims suffer from.

Having said this, here are some of the most common conditions and symptoms of its psychological effects after an individual is involved in a car accident:

  • Car accident victim begins to withdraw from social settings and human contact
  • Effects of the car accident victim’s Mood swings. In some cases, the mood can begin to range from extreme anger to guilt and frustration 
  • Car Accident victims can suffer from higher levels of stress and anxiety
  • Everyday activities begin to become harder and they can also appear to have an inability to enjoy the things around them.
  • Suffers from bouts of insomnia and nightmares can even disrupt their sleep patterns
  • Riding in a car is no longer enjoyable since they begin to have new fears or phobias about traveling from one destination to the next
  • Depression can set in and wreak havoc on their life
  • Suffer from PSD (Post traumatic Disorder)
  • Lack of Concentration on Simple things
  • People recognize their feelings of being emotionally disconnected
  • Problems eating or sleeping
  • Victims may start to rely on drugs or alcohol to cope with their phobias and depressions

Preventing Car Accident and Associated Traumas with Defensive Driving 

As mentioned before, the effects of a car accident are far-reaching. For some people, a car accident will not only leave the driver without a car and physical injuries that need to be treated but also emotional problems that can completely wreak havoc on their mental stability.

Though are many different ways to address these issues, one of the most notable and important is to identify measures that will eliminate the potential for a car accident to a minimum. For instance, it is important that everyone knows how to drive both offensively and defensively so that they can protect themselves and the other passengers in their vehicles. So, for those of you who are interested, here are some of the things that defensive driving will cover in their courses. 

First of all, everyone should know what defensive driving is and why it is so essential for drivers who want to protect themselves and their passengers[2]. Based on information from safemotorist.com, defensive driving can be described as safe driving techniques and strategies that motorists use to proactively identify hazards along the road. The strategies taught in these courses are meant to go beyond the normal and basic traffic procedures and laws that govern the city streets and roads.

Typically, when a student takes these courses, they are taught driving skills that minimize the risks of being involved in an accident. For instance, these courses teach the driver how to anticipate situations so that they can make the safest well-informed decisions that they possibly can within seconds to minutes. For example, these drivers can make decisions proactively based on the condition of the road as well as its surrounding environment. By judging these conditions in advance, they can safely maneuver around things to drive safely to their destination. 

Benefits of taking Defensive Driving

Keeping this in mind, here are some of the most common benefits of taking a defensive driving course.

1. Taught Crash Prevention Techniques

When an individual takes a defensive driving course, they are also introduced to a wide variety of different crash prevention techniques that the average driver does not get in the basic driving course. Some of the most beneficial are listed below.

  • Learn how to deal with vehicle emergencies on the road
  • Understand what it means for drivers to share the road safely
  • Anticipating the proper distance when passing other vehicles
  • Understanding the rules of the Right of way
  • Understanding Speed adjustments and how to safely handle railroad crossings
  • Adapting speed, distance, and driving based on Scanning the roadway and its surroundings
  • Using the 2-second rule for following other vehicles at a distance
  • Identifying Your vehicle’s stopping distance
  • Helps to make sure drivers understand reaction distance
  • Environment hazards

2. Drivers Learn the Dynamics of a Crash

Another benefit of taking a defensive driving course is learning all about the dynamics of a crash before or after having an experience with one. Since many of today’s accidents can be classified as completely preventable, it is important that drivers know this information so that they can do their own part in preventing a crash. For instance, when a collision does occur, a chain of events can happen after the first impact.

Simply put, the first accident can lead to a multiple car accident if the driver is not prepared to drive defensively. In these courses, the dynamics of these crashes are discussed and how other vehicles crashes can be avoided with defensive techniques.

3. Minimizing the Extent of Injuries with the Appropriate Safety Gear

Defensive driving teaches the importance of wearing safety equipment at all times in a vehicle. For instance, by wearing seat belts and putting children in the right size baby car seats, the lives of each person in the vehicle can be saved from serious injuries and fatalities. 


[1] https://www.mirecc.va.gov/cih-visn2/Documents/Patient_Education_Handouts/Handout_What_is_PTSD.pdf 

[2] https://offtherecord.com/blog/defensive-driving

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