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Why People Don’t Fear Car Accidents Nearly Enough

by | Jan 20, 2017

Automobile Accidents

Driver lost control of vehicle well texting on cell phone, Occupants in critical condition

Only 80 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks between 2004 and 2013. In 2010 alone, there were 79 unprovoked shark attacks in North America, making it the most dangerous year for shark attacks in a decade.

By contrast, more than 35,000 people die in traffic accidents every year.

A Chapman University survey published in October 2016 listed Americans’ Top 10 fears. Topping the list was corruption of public officials (maybe because it was election year?), and second on the list were terrorist attacks. You know what wasn’t on the list? Automobile accidents.

Fifth on the list of fears was worry over government restrictions on firearms and ammunition, despite more than 100,000 gun homicides since 9-11.

Even then, statistically speaking, you’re more likely to die from a car crash (400,000 since 9-11).

So why are we afraid of terrorists and sharks and less afraid of car crashes and heart disease (the leading cause of death among Americans)?

Simply put, fear is a primal motivator. It isn’t necessarily caused by actual danger. Rather, it’s caused by the perception of danger. Terrorism is so shocking that it increases the primal anxiety and, if we don’t override that natural emotional reaction with logic, well, we could perceive terrorism to be a bigger threat than the death trap we’re riding in.

Another factor, as explained in The Atlantic, is familiarity. For example, driving has become so commonplace that most of us do it without thinking (which is a bit scary in itself). Being more familiar with automobiles means we are less likely to consider the actual dangers they pose. But we rarely encounter sharks, so we wonder what would happen. We really do fear the unknown.

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, speak to an attorney about your concerns. Our experienced team can provide a thorough, free and fair assessment of your legal options and help you obtain the compensation you need. Please call or email us today to schedule a case evaluation.


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