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How many times will you crash your car over your lifetime?

18th Apr, 2019

Statistically speaking, you can never be 100% safe from having a car crash, but there are so many factors involved that it’s tricky to draw even a rough estimate for most drivers. It’s possible to go decades without having one, and it’s equally possible for you to have several in a single year, if you’re really unlucky (or careless, we suppose!). The vast majority of the time, these accidents won’t be severe enough that you’d need to scrap your car – but even a minor fender bender isn’t welcome news for anyone!

So… how many crashes are you likely to have?

For obvious reasons, it’s difficult to say exactly. Your exact likelihood of being involved in a crash will depend vastly on your individual driving style, as well as how often, how long and where exactly you drive. There’s a lot of statistical analysis involved, but general estimates say that over the course of an average driving lifetime, you’ll be involved in around 3 to 4 accidents. That works out to an insurance claim about once every 18 years. So if you got your driving licence at age 17, you’ll probably have been at least grazed by the time you’re 35. Even if you’re an exceptionally safe driver, you can’t apply that same discipline to everyone else on the road, and sometimes you can be a victim of bad weather, bad luck, or someone else’s bad driving.

However, don’t forget that most of these official estimates define ‘accidents’ quite broadly. We’re not necessarily talking multi-car pileups, or devastating crashes at top speeds on the motorway. If you clipped your wing mirror against another vehicle on the way out of a car park, by many estimations technically that would count as an accident. (Unless of course you did it deliberately, in which case you’ve got some other issues to be working out.) If you’re worried about having a crash, you’ll be glad to know while it’s not impossible to avoid all of them, you can drastically reduce your chances of being involved in one through several simple steps.

The three biggest factors in UK car accidents

Don’t drive distracted

Everyone knows not to be on their phones while driving, as it’s been solidly enshrined in British law for years now. (That’s not to say that everyone obeys, but they definitely know about it!) However, texting or calling isn’t the sole definition of distracted driving. You can equally be distracted by changing CDs, or using in-car infotainment systems, or by having pets bouncing around on the backseat. Avoiding these distractions is easier than some people say it is – often, it’s just a matter of making necessary preparations before the journey, such as queueing up your CD before you set off, and by putting your pets in specially-designed travel crates. They may not like them, but their happiness comes behind your safety, and that of other road users!

Watch your speed

It’s fair to say that the majority of drivers take the speed limit out on the motorway to be an advisory rather than a hard and fast rule, and in some areas it’s not uncommon to see drivers get up to 90 on the outside lane. This drastically reduces not only their reaction times, but the chances of other drivers to see them and get out of the way. After all, if you’ve been driving for decades, the car you’re approaching may be being driven by someone who’s only been out on the roads a few weeks test, and approaching them at speed can cause them to panic.

However, driving excessively slowly can be equally dangerous. Sticking with the motorway as our example, drivers will be expecting you to be travelling at 50mph at the bare minimum – normally, it would be 60. Driving slowly without good cause is equally dangerous as it’s again confounding other drivers’ expectations of you. Travelling at 40 on a motorway isn’t acceptable unless there’s a clear reason to be doing so, such as the dynamic speed warnings also visible to other drivers. In short, there’s a good balance to be struck with speed, and in fairness, it’s not difficult to do so!

Drink driving

You really don’t need us to tell you why this is a bad idea, and how it can end up causing accidents. Driving drunk seriously decreases your reaction times, and erratic manoeuvring puts other road users – not to mention pedestrians and cyclists – in serious danger. Despite this, and the knowledge of how dangerous it can be, it still continues to be a huge problem here in the UK, which is part of why so many people are supporting in-car breathalysers.

As long as you avoid these dangerous driving habits, your chances of being in a collision are reasonably low, and it’s particularly unlikely for you to be in an accident that’s severe enough that you’d need to scrap your car. If worst comes to worst, though, we’re here at Scrap Car Network. You can get cash for your car even if it’s not in driveable condition, which should be a decent silver lining! Of course, there’s nothing to say that you have to be in a collision first to scrap your car with us – just put your car reg and postcode into the fields above, and away you go!