When accidents occur, we often struggle to determine what it was that may have caused the unfortunate event. We tend to brush off most accidents as being ‘unfortunate’ and nothing more and even sometimes relate the incident to God himself.
It’s hard for people who have an accident to blame themselves, especially when they remain oblivious to events building up to the incident. We often hear people associate their problems with other aspects of their surroundings, for instance a car crash tends to be the result of icy roads, hazardous weather conditions or the sun obscuring vision.
So is there any truth behind the saying that many accidents are simply “an act of God” or do we need to start taking care of ourselves a little better?
An act of God is usually associated with an event that exclusively results from natural causes that couldn’t be prevented by any form of caution or foresight. While there are probably many scenarios whereby an act of God is a perfectly acceptable explanation, can we really start banding this term about whenever something like a car crash does unfortunately occur?
The truth is that most accidents ARE avoidable and weather conditions or any other associated factors can also be worked around. Can there really be an excuse for someone who decides to tackle hazardous weather conditions head on or who doesn’t take the extra care that’s necessary in certain situations?
Road accidents are relatively common. In 2012, 1,754 people were killed as a result of a road accident while the number of recorded road accidents peaked at 195,723.
The vast majority of road accidents are the result of drivers travelling too fast or failing to keep a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front. They’re also associated with a lack of awareness and not taking note of hazardous weather conditions.
In the best possible conditions for driving you’ll still need to leave a good 12 metres breaking distance at 20mph. The distance nearly doubles at 30mph and it’s three times that at 40mph. What many drivers fail to realise is that the distance required between vehicles in hazardous conditions is far superior to that of normal conditions.
On top of this, you need to take the speed of impact into account, which will be much faster in hazardous conditions where tyres fail to grip the road as effectively.
So we’re pretty confident that road accidents can’t be related to God but there are many different types of accidents not associated with the road at all. What about fallen trees or chimneys? Is it truly impossible to avoid these accidents without blaming the omnipotent powers from above?
Property owners have a responsibility to ensure no harm comes to others as a result of their negligence; so technically, there are ways around these so called ‘accidents’. It’s important to make sure that any trees, outbuildings, roofs or chimneys are in good shape and not a potential hazard to the surrounding community.
Decaying trees are likely to collapse in severe weather and the storms of November 2013 are an example of how problematic weather can strike when we least expect it. The fact is the owner of the property may be liable if nothing but poor maintenance can be proven.
If we stop using the phrase ‘Act of god’ a little more, we might just be able to start protecting ourselves a little better from unwanted claims. All we need to do is make sure we regularly look after our properties by carrying out regular maintenance and keeping all our belongings in good condition.
Keep an eye on vehicle tyres to ensure they aren’t flat, watch out for hazardous conditions by checking up on the weather before you leave and take some time out to check every aspect of your property commonly associated with accidents, such as chimneys, roofs and trees.
By following this routine regularly, we’re far more likely to stay safe and not have to keep associating our accidents with the Lord. Can I get an Amen?..