January 06, 2005

Are car accidents really accidents?

I've seen quite a few car accidents over the holidays, mainly on the motorways but also at home when a Phillipino woman and her son crashed into our house on Christmas afternoon (they really did and I'll post a photo here if you don't believe me).

I think the use of the word "accident" for pranging a car is really unfortunate. Accidents are things that just happen, whereas most car accidents are the result of someone driving carelessly I reckon. Calling them accidents somehow helps these events to become unavoidable parts of everyday life and we can ignore the resulting cost, inconvenience, injury and even death.

What would be a better word? If I recall correctly, the French is also accident, but Italians say incident, which seems better to me. Mind you they still have plenty of them….

And, by the way, a happy and incident free New Year to everyone.

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