Are Some People More Accident-Prone Than Others?

We tend to think of accidents as things that happen by chance. But when you look at the data, that’s not the case. Statistically speaking, it really does seem that some people are more prone to getting injured than others. 

Disclosure - Collaborative post
Researchers at the University Medical Center in Groningen wanted to find out whether there was such a thing as the “accident-prone brain.” They took data from 79 individual studies chronicling the unfortunate mishaps of more than 150,000 people. What they found was astonishing. 

A group analysis of the population found that accidents are much more likely to cluster around certain individuals than others - more than pure happenstance would suggest - leading to the conclusion that some people are more accident-prone than others. 

Why Are Some People More Prone To Accidents

The reason why some people are more prone to accidents than others goes deep. Researchers initially believed that it had something to do with the structure of the brain. Errors in coordination, they say, leave some people more accident prone than others. 

For instance, athletes in the lowest 20 percent for coordination tend to experience 80 percent of the injuries. In other words, they are far more likely to get injured than their counterparts who have good coordination. The injury-prone group had slower reaction times and it took their brains longer to process injuries. 

However, psychologists have another, slightly weirder explanation: the idea that some people have unconsciously accident-prone personalities. 

They define six types of accident-prone personalities - people who are more likely to injure themselves independent of slow processing times in their brains. 

The “defiant” accident-prone personality type, for instance, is somebody characterized by their emotional instability, impulsivity and intolerance of other people and their ideas. They will wilfully defy rules and ignore safety precautions, leading to a higher probability of injury. 

Then there are the panicky personality types. These people may be at a higher risk of accidents because their brains go into meltdown during dangerous situations. They’re simply not able to process the threats in their environment, leading to a greater propensity for bodily damage. 

Then there is the arrogant personality. These individuals believe that they know best in every situation - even dangerous one - and will often ignore advice to change their behavior. In general, they are un-coachable and don’t respond well to being told what they should do instead. 

Of course, as competent personal injury attorneys will attest, personality deficiencies and slow brain processing speeds aren’t the only reason people get into accidents. It’s also to do with the people around them (and, sometimes, sheer bad luck). But it is an interesting phenomenon. It goes against our common sense notion that accidents are just random events that we can’t predict. 

How To Avoid Accidents

The trick to avoiding accidents is to be honest with oneself about one’s personality. If you know that you’re the sort of person who panics, ignores advice or just wants to do things your own way, you’re probably at higher risk. That’s what the data say anyway.

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