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What Are the Five Links in an Accident Chain?

To start with, accident chain is defined as a chain of events or a number of actions and their effects that are adjoining and linked together. It is a kind of chain reaction where one or more events in the chain produce additional events in the advanced stage of the chain. It results in a self-magnification of the chain of events. The duration of the chain of events is the time it takes to arrive at the terminal event. In one theory, this is generally the inherent value or also called the terminal value. It is compared with ethic value duration, which is the time that an object has value strength.

An accident chain, when referring to aviation, is a series of events culminating in a mishap, a chain of events or regularly called the error chain is a term particularly referring to the concept that many contributing factors typically lead to an accident, rather than one single event. Still, research, studies and safety articles all point to the fact that 80% to 90% of aviation accidents have human error or negligence as the main cause. Yes, it is us and there is no doubt about it! It would seem as if our minds become congested in certain circumstances.

Usually when an accident occurs, it doesn’t just “happen” with the possible exemption of some mechanical malfunction. There is instead a series of events that leads up to it. Majority of traffic accidents is caused by chains or sequences of events which spell trouble.

But the very question that draws our attention is that, what are the actual links in an accident chain? According to the summary of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Film, “Breaking the Accident Chain of Events”, an illustration was made showing that an accident is caused by five links, events which occur together to form a chain leading to a collision.

Link 1: Driver # 1, Jerry, is on his way to work passing through the same course he takes everyday. Besides he is so familiar with this route that his attention sometimes wanders. His lack of concentration is the first link.

Link 2: Jerry is approaching a building site and yes this can be dangerous, as always, but crews exert effort to keep the site as safe as possible by putting marked traffic cones. These cones give approaching drivers advanced notice of alterations in the roadway. Unfortunately, during the same night someone hit one of the traffic cones that mark the site. The fallen traffic cone is the second link.

Link 3: Driver #2, Hannah, is approaching from the other direction; she is hurt and talking on her car phone. Her lack of concentration is the third link.

Link 4: As Hannah gets more involved in her talking, Hannah’s speed is gradually increasing. Her increased speed is the fourth link.

Link 5: The building site is situated on a curve. This location makes the site less visible, thus increasing the danger factor. This is the final link in this accident chain of events.

Do you see the links coming together? They figure a chain of events with an accident as the expected result.

In conclusion, when unexpected accidents occur, it is best to remind ourselves to get support, to keep calm and don’t freak out. Don’t take it out on yourself. Try to solve the problem; and lastly, think positive!