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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 13:41 
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Rigpig wrote:
The odds may be heavily in their favour but, when multiplied across the road network, there are many more lucky drivers than unlucky ones.


There are people saying 'you make your own luck' in various different ways in this thread. In many practical ways they are right, but the terms are getting confused. If you have improved your chances that really isn't luck at all. It's deliberate cause and effect.

'Luck' is about falling on the 'right side' of chance and chance alone.

The result of a single coin toss, or the roll of a die (dice) may turn out to be lucky or unlucky.

If you have a million standard tailgaters and 10,000 of them crash, you could call the ones that crash 'unlucky' and the ones that don't 'lucky'. But they are all taking the same chance.

Rigpig wrote:
So the idea that the clever/dumb balance is restored is ludicrous.


Ahh, that's where you're wrong. They terms are relative to one another and must always exist in perfect balance.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 14:21 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Rigpig wrote:
The odds may be heavily in their favour but, when multiplied across the road network, there are many more lucky drivers than unlucky ones.


There are people saying 'you make your own luck' in various different ways in this thread. In many practical ways they are right, but the terms are getting confused. If you have improved your chances that really isn't luck at all. It's deliberate cause and effect.

'Luck' is about falling on the 'right side' of chance and chance alone.

The result of a single coin toss, or the roll of a die (dice) may turn out to be lucky or unlucky.

If you have a million standard tailgaters and 10,000 of them crash, you could call the ones that crash 'unlucky' and the ones that don't 'lucky'. But they are all taking the same chance.


It doesn't matter if they are all taking the same chance or not, its a 'game' of chance in which the odds are extremely long and so only a few, like the national lottery, will ever 'win'. Nonetheless, those for whom the odds continue to play our in their favour, albeit heavily in their favour, are still more 'lucky' than the others. There is more systemwide good luck than bad luck.
And besides, for any driver whose luck runs out, the fact that there are still millions of other lucky drivers out there is irrelevant.

Safespeed wrote:
rigpig wrote:
So the idea that the clever/dumb balance is restored is ludicrous.


Ahh, that's where you're wrong. They terms are relative to one another and must always exist in perfect balance.


No they are not in balance in any way. If we play a game of pure chance with short odds (rolling die) and where our decision making isn't even involved then numerous rolls of those die may eventually return a 'balanced' result. But across the road network, any driver who makes a decision to reduce his/her safety margins to the point where the outcome of an incident would be outside of their control, they are relying on luck. And as there are routinely less incidents than there are non-incidents then the balance of probability lies in favour of the 'lucky ones', not distributed between the two.

[Edit]
I can see from your reply in the motorcycling thread that you don't take this point seriously. I happen to believe that there is something in it.
When a great number of drivers, perhaps even the majority, get in their car and drive around they rely on luck to keep them crash free at times when they themselves could have control or at least do more to steer their own fate. Improper observation, driving too close etc etc increase the need, albeit unknowingly, to rely on factors outside of ones immediate control - no sudden braking ahead, no motorcycle coming along the road.
Yes its a game of chance played with dice that have a huge number of sides and we are hoping to avoid rolling one or two numbers out of them all, but the chance element is there. Improving driver awareness, observation and driving behaviour will surely improve the odds in their favour; they go from a ten thousand sided dice to a fifty thousand sided dice perhaps.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 16:59 
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Rigpig wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Rigpig wrote:
The odds may be heavily in their favour but, when multiplied across the road network, there are many more lucky drivers than unlucky ones.


There are people saying 'you make your own luck' in various different ways in this thread. In many practical ways they are right, but the terms are getting confused. If you have improved your chances that really isn't luck at all. It's deliberate cause and effect.

'Luck' is about falling on the 'right side' of chance and chance alone.

The result of a single coin toss, or the roll of a die (dice) may turn out to be lucky or unlucky.

If you have a million standard tailgaters and 10,000 of them crash, you could call the ones that crash 'unlucky' and the ones that don't 'lucky'. But they are all taking the same chance.


It doesn't matter if they are all taking the same chance or not, its a 'game' of chance in which the odds are extremely long and so only a few, like the national lottery, will ever 'win'. Nonetheless, those for whom the odds continue to play our in their favour, albeit heavily in their favour, are still more 'lucky' than the others. There is more systemwide good luck than bad luck.
And besides, for any driver whose luck runs out, the fact that there are still millions of other lucky drivers out there is irrelevant.


We have to separate luck from skill if we're going to make any sense of this at all. We can do so with examples that do not require skill, which is why I keep bringing up things like coin tosses.

The chap who wins the coin toss is 'lucky' while the chap that loses is 'unlucky'. The coin itself is neither lucky nor unlucky and the result of the coin toss is entirely predictable if you toss enough coins and accumulate the results. Notice that 'good luck' and 'bad luck' are in perfect balance.

If we roll a fair die (dice) the chance of obtaining a certain number (a six, I expect) is always 1/6th. If six people are betting on six different numbers and we roll one die 1 of them will win and 5 of them will lose. You could (and should) argue that the results are still in perfect balance. It was entirely predictable that 5 would lose and one would win. In this case five small losses exactly equals one big win.

It is CRUCIAL that good luck and bad luck are in perfect balance. If they appear not to be then that's the influence of skill, not luck.

Rigpig wrote:
Safespeed wrote:
rigpig wrote:
So the idea that the clever/dumb balance is restored is ludicrous.


Ahh, that's where you're wrong. They terms are relative to one another and must always exist in perfect balance.


No they are not in balance in any way. If we play a game of pure chance with short odds (rolling die) and where our decision making isn't even involved then numerous rolls of those die may eventually return a 'balanced' result. But across the road network, any driver who makes a decision to reduce his/her safety margins to the point where the outcome of an incident would be outside of their control, they are relying on luck. And as there are routinely less incidents than there are non-incidents then the balance of probability lies in favour of the 'lucky ones', not distributed between the two.


Apparent good luck and apparent bad luck are only unbalanced by skill.

As it is with the 'clever dumb' balance. They are only definable in terms of the opposite, and any shift in the environment will also shift the definition. They must be in balance. Without balance the terms cannot be defined. They are relative.


Rigpig wrote:
[Edit]
I can see from your reply in the motorcycling thread that you don't take this point seriously. I happen to believe that there is something in it.
When a great number of drivers, perhaps even the majority, get in their car and drive around they rely on luck to keep them crash free at times when they themselves could have control or at least do more to steer their own fate. Improper observation, driving too close etc etc increase the need, albeit unknowingly, to rely on factors outside of ones immediate control - no sudden braking ahead, no motorcycle coming along the road.
Yes its a game of chance played with dice that have a huge number of sides and we are hoping to avoid rolling one or two numbers out of them all, but the chance element is there. Improving driver awareness, observation and driving behaviour will surely improve the odds in their favour; they go from a ten thousand sided dice to a fifty thousand sided dice perhaps.


I do take it perfectly seriously. But that doesn't mean that I can't make a joke about it.

It's vitally important that we get a proper grip on the relative contributions of skill and chance.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 19:13 
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I'm not sure that you and Rigpig aren't at cross-purposes here. At the system level, the effects of luck are irrelevant because the overall crash statistics reflecet the aggregated ability and luck of the entire driver population.

At the same time, given identical 'risky' driving behaviours by different drivers, there is clearly an element of fortuity (luck) in determining whether a crash occurs or a near miss or nothing. That element of fortuity may be a 1 in 1000 chance (or whatever, it doesn't really matter).

By reducing or eliminating risky bahaviours, a driver reduces or eliminates his exposure to fortuity.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 20:02 
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Observer wrote:
I'm not sure that you and Rigpig aren't at cross-purposes here. At the system level, the effects of luck are irrelevant because the overall crash statistics reflecet the aggregated ability and luck of the entire driver population.

At the same time, given identical 'risky' driving behaviours by different drivers, there is clearly an element of fortuity (luck) in determining whether a crash occurs or a near miss or nothing. That element of fortuity may be a 1 in 1000 chance (or whatever, it doesn't really matter).

By reducing or eliminating risky bahaviours, a driver reduces or eliminates his exposure to fortuity.


I agree with that. Thanks.

Riggers?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 18:19 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Observer wrote:
I'm not sure that you and Rigpig aren't at cross-purposes here. At the system level, the effects of luck are irrelevant because the overall crash statistics reflecet the aggregated ability and luck of the entire driver population.

At the same time, given identical 'risky' driving behaviours by different drivers, there is clearly an element of fortuity (luck) in determining whether a crash occurs or a near miss or nothing. That element of fortuity may be a 1 in 1000 chance (or whatever, it doesn't really matter).

By reducing or eliminating risky bahaviours, a driver reduces or eliminates his exposure to fortuity.


I agree with that. Thanks.

Riggers?[/


So do I, agree with that.
I think your blind spot in this has been to think of luck in digital terms, you are either lucky or unlucky if the coin lands on one side or the other. Where the odds are very short (1 in 2 for a coin toss) the presence of luck is easy to spot.
I am thinking of luck per individual driver where their behaviour may attract a 1 in 1,000, 1 in 10,000 1 in 100,000 (or whatever) chance of something happening to them which would lead to a crash in a situation where one would not have happened had they been driving with a wider margin for safety.
I am not including things that are outwith the drivers capacity to control, a meteor dropping from the sky onto their car for example, only occurences which they do have some control over the prevention of.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 18:34 
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Rigpig wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Observer wrote:
I'm not sure that you and Rigpig aren't at cross-purposes here. At the system level, the effects of luck are irrelevant because the overall crash statistics reflecet the aggregated ability and luck of the entire driver population.

At the same time, given identical 'risky' driving behaviours by different drivers, there is clearly an element of fortuity (luck) in determining whether a crash occurs or a near miss or nothing. That element of fortuity may be a 1 in 1000 chance (or whatever, it doesn't really matter).

By reducing or eliminating risky bahaviours, a driver reduces or eliminates his exposure to fortuity.


I agree with that. Thanks.

Riggers?[/


So do I, agree with that.
I think your blind spot in this has been to think of luck in digital terms, you are either lucky or unlucky if the coin lands on one side or the other. Where the odds are very short (1 in 2 for a coin toss) the presence of luck is easy to spot.
I am thinking of luck per individual driver where their behaviour may attract a 1 in 1,000, 1 in 10,000 1 in 100,000 (or whatever) chance of something happening to them which would lead to a crash in a situation where one would not have happened had they been driving with a wider margin for safety.
I am not including things that are outwith the drivers capacity to control, a meteor dropping from the sky onto their car for example, only occurences which they do have some control over the prevention of.


But Jeff, if they have control over prevention you're adding skill to luck again.

Both are important but we have to understand where one stops and the other starts.

Ideas like you make your own luck share the same flaw. You can't really 'make your own luck' at all. You can apply skill which will improve your chances.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 19:34 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Rigpig wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Observer wrote:
I'm not sure that you and Rigpig aren't at cross-purposes here. At the system level, the effects of luck are irrelevant because the overall crash statistics reflecet the aggregated ability and luck of the entire driver population.

At the same time, given identical 'risky' driving behaviours by different drivers, there is clearly an element of fortuity (luck) in determining whether a crash occurs or a near miss or nothing. That element of fortuity may be a 1 in 1000 chance (or whatever, it doesn't really matter).

By reducing or eliminating risky bahaviours, a driver reduces or eliminates his exposure to fortuity.


I agree with that. Thanks.

Riggers?[/


So do I, agree with that.
I think your blind spot in this has been to think of luck in digital terms, you are either lucky or unlucky if the coin lands on one side or the other. Where the odds are very short (1 in 2 for a coin toss) the presence of luck is easy to spot.
I am thinking of luck per individual driver where their behaviour may attract a 1 in 1,000, 1 in 10,000 1 in 100,000 (or whatever) chance of something happening to them which would lead to a crash in a situation where one would not have happened had they been driving with a wider margin for safety.
I am not including things that are outwith the drivers capacity to control, a meteor dropping from the sky onto their car for example, only occurences which they do have some control over the prevention of.


But Jeff, if they have control over prevention you're adding skill to luck again.

Both are important but we have to understand where one stops and the other starts.

Ideas like you make your own luck share the same flaw. You can't really 'make your own luck' at all. You can apply skill which will improve your chances.


I really can't understand why you are having such difficulty with this Paul, because its blindingly obvious to me.

I'm not adding skill to luck at all, I am saying that there comes a point where lack of judgement, poor attitude or poor assessment mean that skill alone will not be enough to keep one crash free.
Drive a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and you will be able to stop if that vehicle itself comes to an abrupt stop. Begin to close the gap and you need to increase observation ahead in order to anticipate potential problems which may see you need to deploy your skills to stop in time. Close the gap further still and you eventually cross to a point where you will definately crash if the vehicle ahead has to stop suddenly.
You are now relying on two things:
1. Your skill which means you adjust your speed and don't just crash blindly into the car ahead and,
2. The long odds against some random event happening up ahead which will cause the vehicel in front of you to have to engage emergency braking.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 19:51 
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Rigpig wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Rigpig wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Observer wrote:
I'm not sure that you and Rigpig aren't at cross-purposes here. At the system level, the effects of luck are irrelevant because the overall crash statistics reflecet the aggregated ability and luck of the entire driver population.

At the same time, given identical 'risky' driving behaviours by different drivers, there is clearly an element of fortuity (luck) in determining whether a crash occurs or a near miss or nothing. That element of fortuity may be a 1 in 1000 chance (or whatever, it doesn't really matter).

By reducing or eliminating risky bahaviours, a driver reduces or eliminates his exposure to fortuity.


I agree with that. Thanks.

Riggers?[/


So do I, agree with that.
I think your blind spot in this has been to think of luck in digital terms, you are either lucky or unlucky if the coin lands on one side or the other. Where the odds are very short (1 in 2 for a coin toss) the presence of luck is easy to spot.
I am thinking of luck per individual driver where their behaviour may attract a 1 in 1,000, 1 in 10,000 1 in 100,000 (or whatever) chance of something happening to them which would lead to a crash in a situation where one would not have happened had they been driving with a wider margin for safety.
I am not including things that are outwith the drivers capacity to control, a meteor dropping from the sky onto their car for example, only occurences which they do have some control over the prevention of.


But Jeff, if they have control over prevention you're adding skill to luck again.

Both are important but we have to understand where one stops and the other starts.

Ideas like you make your own luck share the same flaw. You can't really 'make your own luck' at all. You can apply skill which will improve your chances.


I really can't understand why you are having such difficulty with this Paul, because its blindingly obvious to me.

I'm not adding skill to luck at all, I am saying that there comes a point where lack of judgement, poor attitude or poor assessment mean that skill alone will not be enough to keep one crash free.
Drive a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and you will be able to stop if that vehicle itself comes to an abrupt stop. Begin to close the gap and you need to increase observation ahead in order to anticipate potential problems which may see you need to deploy your skills to stop in time. Close the gap further still and you eventually cross to a point where you will definately crash if the vehicle ahead has to stop suddenly.
You are now relying on two things:
1. Your skill which means you adjust your speed and don't just crash blindly into the car ahead and,
2. The long odds against some random event happening up ahead which will cause the vehicel in front of you to have to engage emergency braking.


OK then, let's try an example. We have 100,000 standard tailgaters and we know that a standard tailgater crashes 1 day in 10,000.

Each day, 10 standard tailgaters out of our total of 100,000 crash.

Now what?

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 Post subject: Re: Driver Luck
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 19:55 
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Rigpig wrote:
Over on another forum in a long, long, long thread, someone suggested that many so-called experienced drivers get through an accident free driving career not by skill and judgement but by luck. This was poo-pooed on the basis that nobody, let alone millions of drivers can be that lucky.


I'm still not sure what (if anything) you two are disagreeing over. So, going back to Jeff's first post, I've emboldened what I think is his substantive point.

The problem (perhaps more of emphasis than substance) I see with that statement is that it implies a dichotomy between 'skill/experience' on the one hand and 'luck' on the other hand, as though a driver has to be one or the other.

You have both agreed that a higher level of skill and ability will reduce a driver's exposure to fortuity (bad luck). So is it not simply the case that a driver's - any driver's - driving record depends on a combination of skill and luck. The more skill he has, the less he is exposed to bad luck.

So a drivers with less skill is relatively more dependent on avoiding bad luck (and of course the converse). All drivers will fall somewhere on the continuum. Some will be skilful but still unlucky and some will be less skilful but remain lucky.

I don't see anything contentious there. Seems completely reasonable and logical to me.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 20:03 
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[edit]

Deleted, far better response below.

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Last edited by Rigpig on Thu Nov 29, 2007 20:10, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Driver Luck
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 20:07 
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Observer wrote:
Rigpig wrote:
Over on another forum in a long, long, long thread, someone suggested that many so-called experienced drivers get through an accident free driving career not by skill and judgement but by luck. This was poo-pooed on the basis that nobody, let alone millions of drivers can be that lucky.


I'm still not sure what (if anything) you two are disagreeing over. So, going back to Jeff's first post, I've emboldened what I think is his substantive point.

The problem (perhaps more of emphasis than substance) I see with that statement is that it implies a dichotomy between 'skill/experience' on the one hand and 'luck' on the other hand, as though a driver has to be one or the other.

You have both agreed that a higher level of skill and ability will reduce a driver's exposure to fortuity (bad luck). So is it not simply the case that a driver's - any driver's - driving record depends on a combination of skill and luck. The more skill he has, the less he is exposed to bad luck.

So a drivers with less skill is relatively more dependent on avoiding bad luck (and of course the converse). All drivers will fall somewhere on the continuum. Some will be skilful but still unlucky and some will be less skilful but remain lucky.

I don't see anything contentious there. Seems completely reasonable and logical to me.


Not quite one OR the other perhaps, more like some drivers lean on luck for support at times when improved skill, attiude or behaviour would remove the need for that crutch.

A driver who taligates is tweaking the nose of lady luck; the more they do it (in terms of frequency and severity) the more they lean on the probability (luck) that nothing is going to happen.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 21:02 
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So in summary, Jeff's point is:

Don't trust to luck - luck is very unreliable. Get skilled up / clued up instead.

Is that all? :hehe:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 21:25 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
So in summary, Jeff's point is:

Don't trust to luck - luck is very unreliable. Get skilled up / clued up instead.

Is that all? :hehe:


Sort of.

My point is that a lot of drivers will trust to luck but assume that their crash-free record is a function of their skill and experience and conveniently ignore (or be unaware of) the part that luck has played throughout their driving lifetime. In other words, not crashing due to the part that luck plays in everyday events teaches us nothing and leads us to assume our skills are better than they perhaps are.
If only we could get drivers to eliminate their periodic reliance on luck we could improve things all round.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 23:51 
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Rigpig wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
So in summary, Jeff's point is:

Don't trust to luck - luck is very unreliable. Get skilled up / clued up instead.

Is that all? :hehe:


Sort of.

My point is that a lot of drivers will trust to luck but assume that their crash-free record is a function of their skill and experience and conveniently ignore (or be unaware of) the part that luck has played throughout their driving lifetime. In other words, not crashing due to the part that luck plays in everyday events teaches us nothing and leads us to assume our skills are better than they perhaps are.
If only we could get drivers to eliminate their periodic reliance on luck we could improve things all round.


Right. This then is all about the Heinrich accident triangle. We want people to responding to errors at lower layers.

The triangle is like this:

3,000 fatals
30,000 serious
300,000 injury
3,000,000 damage only
30,000,000 near misses
300,000,000 far misses
3,000,000,000 unsafe behaviours

OK, so the bottom three rows are pretty much pure speculation. Nevertheless you could come up with definitions, I'm sure, which would preserve the (log) pattern.

Modern health and safety theory is that by working on the bottom of the triangle you bring all the numbers down. Eliminate half the unsafe behaviours and you eliminate half the fatals at the top of the tree.

The trick on the roads is to get folk recognising 'unsafe behaviours' and learning from them before they get bitten. They might well get an average 1,000 chances before they are even involved in a damage only. But this is exactly what modern policy is failing to do.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 08:29 
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Is the triangle always that profile or is it sometimes materially steeper (or shallower). I know the first three layers are 'about right' for road crashes. Is the 3M 'damage only' also in the right area?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:31 
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Observer wrote:
Is the triangle always that profile or is it sometimes materially steeper (or shallower). I know the first three layers are 'about right' for road crashes. Is the 3M 'damage only' also in the right area?


Different environments might have different ratios. And of course it's highly dependent on the definitions in use.

We do have about 3 million damage onlys per year. But It's almost imposssible to be specific because most cars get a scratch, a dent or a scuffed bumper.

The general pattern exists in every 'accident' environment. It was first noted by Heinrich in the 1930s. He's sometimes regarded as the starting point for modern health and safety.

I noted the effect and tried to put it in context before I found out about Heinrich. See: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/ten.html

The amazing thing about these numbers from the Safe Speed campaign's perspective is that you can't get the log ratio scale with any physics model. You need a psychological model of crash causation instead.

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