Many different terms are commonly used to describe vehicle collisions. The World Health Organization use the term road traffic injury, while the U.S. Census Bureau uses the term motor vehicle accidents (MVA) and Transport Canada uses the term "motor vehicle traffic collision" (MVTC). Other terms that are commonly used include auto accident, car accident, car crash, car smash, car wreck, motor vehicle collision (MVC), personal injury collision (PIC), road accident, road traffic accident (RTA), road traffic collision (RTC), road traffic incident (RTI), road traffic accident and later road traffic collision, as well as more unofficial terms including smash-upand fender bender.
Some organizations have begun to avoid the term "accident". Although auto collisions are rare in terms of the number of vehicles on the road and the distance they travel, addressing the contributing factors can reduce their likelihood. For example, proper signage can decrease driver error and thereby reduce crash frequency by a third or more. That is why these organizations prefer the term "collision" rather than "accident". However, treating collisions as anything other than "accidents" has been criticized for holding back safety improvements, because aculture of blame may discourage the involved parties from fully disclosing the facts, and thus frustrate attempts to address the realroot causes. -------------------------------------------------
Main article: Road accident types
Motor vehicle collisions can be classified by mechanism. Common mechanisms include head-on collisions, run-off-road collisions, rear-end collisions, side collision, and rollovers. Other common types of Virginia DMV reportable crashes include those crashes which begin on a public highway with a vehicle loss of control and end upon private property. -------------------------------------------------
| Driver factors|
| 57%| | | |
| | 27%| | Roadway
| | 6%| 3%| | 3%| |
| | | 1%| | |
| | 2%| | |
| | Vehicle factors|
Breakdown of British and
American crash causes
A 1985 study by K. Rumar, using British and American crash reports as data, found that 57% of crashes were due solely to driver factors, 27% to combined roadway and driver factors, 6% to combined vehicle and driver factors, 3% solely to roadway factors, 3% to combined roadway, driver, and vehicle factors, 2% solely to vehicle factors and 1% to combined roadway and vehicle factors. Human factors
Human factors in vehicle collisions include all factors related to drivers and other road users that may contribute to a collision. Examples include driver behavior, visual and auditory acuity, decision-making ability, and reaction speed. A 1985 report based on British and American crash data found driver error, intoxication and other human factors contribute wholly or partly to about 93% of crashes. An RAC survey of British drivers found that most thought they were better than average drivers; a contradictory result showing overconfidence in their abilities. Nearly all drivers who had been in a crash did not believe themselves to be at fault. One survey of drivers reported that they thought the key elements of good driving were: * controlling a car including a good awareness of the car's size and capabilities * reading and reacting to road conditions, weather, road signs and the environment * alertness, reading and anticipating the behaviour of other drivers. Although proficiency in these skills is taught and tested as part of the driving exam, a 'good' driver can still be at a high risk of crashing because: ...the feeling of being confident in more and more challenging situations is experienced as evidence of driving ability, and that 'proven' ability reinforces the feelings of confidence. Confidence...