How You Can Cause a Car Accident By Being Too Nice

How You Can Cause a Car Accident By Being Too Nice

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Canadians have finally done it: They’ve managed to be too polite—at least behind the wheel.

That’s the message Charlottetown Police Chief Paul Smith delivered last week, after he saw two crashes on Prince Edward Island caused by Canucks being overly nice to one another, according to CTV News.

 
These fender benders, which did not involve errant moose or maple syrup spills, happened when one driver stopped to wave another motorist on for a left turn.
When the second driver crossed the center line to execute the left turn, he was T-boned by another driver coming toward him in oncoming traffic, who he didn’t see because his view was obstructed by the stopped car.

Smith said Canadian motorists should cut the courtesy and stick to the rules of the road, and data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration backs up the Chief’s assault on niceness.

In the report, one third of U.S. car accidents occurred when a vehicle was turning from one road onto another. Motorists were twice as likely to crash due to not seeing the other car as they were to crash because they were distracted.

But is it less dangerous to drive assertively?

The data says so: American motorists were three times more likely to crash because they made a false assumption about another driver (i.e., that someone waving you on isn’t putting you in harm’s way) than they were due to their own aggression.

And don’t expect your insurance company to fault the driver that waved you on, especially when they flee the scene.

There are even entire insurance fraud scams built upon the good Samaritan ethic. In the “drive down,” a driver waves you on to turn in front of them and immediately rams you, claiming they never waved you at all.

Despite your genteel inclinations, make like a Yankee and look out for yourself. Cordiality, like crime, doesn’t pay.