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That Was No Accident!

Updated on November 8, 2012

Whether you call them accident prone, unlucky or just clumsy, some people seem to have extremely bad luck. Psychiatrists say there are no unlucky people and the accident prone cause their own accidents. Perhaps, that’s true but until recently there has been no concrete evidence to support this view. The tendency towards accident proneness, according to some research is a function of behavioral, mental, physical and personality factors, among others.

Accident prone is generally defined as a person that suffers a greater number of accidents than normal. The question is why? Researchers are trying to find out. A study done at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands by psychiatrist Ellen Visser, analyzed 79 studies which examined how prone people are to having accidents.

In all, the studies looked at accidents suffered by 147,000 people, from 15 countries. The results were shocking. It appears 1 in 29 have a 50 per cent higher chance of having an accident than others. Visser said her work revealed personality traits that made some more accident prone.

Other research has suggested those employed in high risk jobs tended to have more accidents, as did children with coordination problems while studies at another university found people with low -levels of dependability and agreeableness were more likely to suffer accidents. High levels of openness were also linked with an increased risk.

Madeleine Portwood, a senior education psychologist and education adviser at the Dyspraxia Foundation for Children in the U.K., said children with more sedentary lives often experienced a higher incident of clumsiness problems. Portwood claimed out of 400 three year olds 57 per cent didn’t have coordination skills comparable to more active kids their age. She also believes coordination difficulties in the general population had also increased tenfold in the last decade due to the same problems, but a structured movement program can significantly reduce these statistics.

Another team of researchers found 27 percent of the individuals they studied had more frequent accidents than usual. It was also discovered youth, job inexperience job dissatisfaction, inadequate safety training, sleep disorders, smoking, and lack of exercise were all contributing factors. Surprisingly, there was another factor, not having a personal hobby.

From these studies three key personality traits of people who are not accident prone have emerged:

· Openness: The tendency to learn from experience and to be open to suggestions.

· Dependability: Conscientious and socially responsible.

· Agreeableness: Not aggressive or self-centered.

We all know someone who seems prone to accidents and sometimes what befalls them can be humorous and amusing, as long as they’re not seriously injured. However, there are some who have been plagued their entire lives by unfortunate mishaps. Take the case of Thomas Cook.

Cook's dilemma started before birth. He nearly died as his mother nearly miscarried. As a child he broke his collarbone, suffered brain hemorrhage due to a playground accident, had his spleen removed due to an injury playing touch football. After becoming a teenager he had a go cart accident and a near fatal car crash before attending university. After enrolling in classes he spent five months in a coma due to another car accident.

Cook eventually became employed as a computer programmer; one would think a fairly safe job. But Cook broke his back three times. Additionally he broke ribs in various car accidents and falls. Finally, what little good luck he may have had ran out. Cook died at 54 after being hit by a car.

Do you think you are accident prone? Take this test and find out at:


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    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      lol!! ;D

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Jama, but that's the only time I really need a candy bar, and I have to call the store on my cell phone to let them know I'm only minutes away.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      There's also the "ignore history" bunch, for instance people who think staying home when the roads are icy doesn't apply to THEM when they want to pop out for a candy bar during an ice storm and end up wrapped around a power pole. They truly believed they'd be driving in a protective bubble...

      Nor can it be called an "accident" when the SUV shown in a video on the news a few days ago was hit by a small plane attempting an emergency landing in a field on the other side of the SUV. The plane was unable to pull up, but the SUV driver had time to slam on the brakes, or put the vehicle in reverse, or take other evasive action. But nooo... The SUV never slowed or tried to avoid the collision, which resulted in the plane's wheels tearing through the roof before it crash landed in the said field minus a wheel. I suspect the SUV driver was too engrossed in a cell phone conversation to notice a PLANE, albeit a small one, coming toward him (or her).

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks Mak,

      You are correct. The hobby thing, as long as it didn't involve a sharp object it was ok. It kept them busy and out of harms way. ;-)

    • JanMaklak profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      At my full time job in safety I would feel it's when people don't follow acceptable behaviours. If you think of antecedents leads to behaviour and that leads to consequences (ABCs of behavioural safety) you will find this covers most accident prone individuals.

      The antecedent could be wanting to get done before the end of the day, being behind schedule etc this leads to unacceptable behaviour and that leads to undesired consequences.

      The lack of a personal hobby was an interesting indicator and I wonder how it was arrived at.

      Good work!

    • eHealer profile image


      6 years ago from Las Vegas


    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina wasn't supposed to be funny. I stumbled across the idea earlier by accident.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Cool hub. I found it very interesting. That poor Cook fellow! My goodness!

    • eHealer profile image


      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      JY, you are hilarious! What a great hub! It's so funny and informs at the same time. Very interesting and extremely amusing. I give you...oops! I just feel over my desk... a two thumbs up! Write On!!!


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