In my last blog I used the phrases “automobile crash” and “automobile accident” when writing about safety on Missouri roadways. Before I could write about why I used both terms I received a few questions from very observant readers about why I didn’t just say “automobile accident” (thanks for paying attention!). Hopefully, the following explains why I think we should use “crash” instead of “accident” when it comes to describing a majority of trafﬁc fatalities and trafﬁc injuries involving an automobile.
According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, “crash” and “accident” are deﬁned this way:
Crash: To hit something hard enough to cause serious damage or destruction;
Accident: A sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury;
An accident is an event or incident that is unplanned, unforeseen, or unintended. Everyone (including myself) nearly always refers to automobile crashes or collisions as “automobile accidents”. When I think of an “automobile accident”, I immediately think that it was something that was unplanned or unintended. In other words, someone made a mistake or couldn’t have done anything to avoid hitting another car (or person).