In this essay, I would like to discuss how a person’s mind and body are affected by almost getting in a car accident due to heavy rain while driving home on a busy highway with a lot of traffic. Many drivers had a situation at least once in their lives when they realized how close they were to get into an accident. Even if an accident has been avoided, what happened can significantly affect the driver in the present and future.
Particularly dangerous are accidents that occur under bad weather conditions, as well as with heavy traffic. Wet, damp, and slippery surfaces make it difficult and extremely traumatic for people to move. It is great if the driver will gain control over the car after the initial loss of it and will not get injured. Nevertheless, after such an event, many people are terrified to get behind the wheel and ride as passengers; such trauma can influence family life and work. A near-miss experience is fraught with the fact that the human psyche will suffer in many ways; however, there are methods to help victims of such situations.
In the first minutes after the incident, the human body experiences two stages of shock, both characterized by loss of self-control and inadequate perception of reality. For the first phase, a person instinctively seeks to do something but not realizing what it is. At such moments, people fuss, talk a lot; this stage is short-lived. Then comes the opposite state of lethargy and drowsiness, when the nervous system reacts weakly to external stimuli. At this moment, attention to the surrounding world is scattered. The main thing in such a situation is to regain control over oneself and keep an adequate perception of what is happening. Most people can do it on their own, although a lot depends on the degree of shock and the psycho type of the person.
Human psychology is such that the leading cause of any fear is the unknown; therefore, all emergencies frighten us with unexpected consequences. Nevertheless, if death is not threatened, then people will eventually have to live with the results of any such incident. That is, there is no escape from what has happened. The sooner persons accept a situation that has already become a part of their life in any case, the sooner this fear will release them (Ford et al. 1075). Besides, a significant motivation to recover from the shock is realizing that specific actions can ease the consequences of a near-accident.
It should be noted that people cannot ignore the need to solve the very problem of hazardous traffic situations. Improving road quality is required to reduce near-miss incidences (Siregar et al. 33). It is especially crucial to monitor the state of the transport network in cities with bad weather conditions. For example, even experienced car owners are not immune from problems with driving in the rain.
Nature provides for various mechanisms to resist stress, including a fight or flight response. This instinct is not unique to dogs and cats; it is present in all animals. Frightened animals release adrenaline, their heart rate, and breathing quicken, their muscles tense – in this way, they prepare for action (Dhabhar 175). The human brain, like any mammal’s brain, when threatened with life, reacts according to the principle of “fight or flight.”
This mechanism is one of the primary evolutionary principles of defense. When there is danger, a living creature quickly decides which of the two strategies to take. However, a response that supports only two coping strategies – fight or flight – does not correspond to modern life stresses in any way. It turns out that, in reality, human responses are much more complex. They evolved along with humans, adapting over time to the changing world.
The “flight or fight” instinct forces the entire body to mobilize all available energy resources. It can activate different biological systems that support different behavioral strategies. This stress response provides a person with exceptional physical ability in particular situations; however, the effect ends quickly. The last stage of any stress response is recovery, bringing one’s body and brain back to a state of calm; this process does not happen immediately. If it becomes evident that significant changes have occurred in the psyche, one should contact a specialist for the appointment and administration of treatment.
Survivors of this experience may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The causes of it can be easily traced; it always arises from a traumatic event and can be accompanied by various symptoms, from increased irritability to amnesia. For the occurrence of PTSD, there must be an objective threat to a person’s life, or at least to his psyche or personality integrity. For example, when persons are taken hostage, a situation of uncertainty can violate the integrity of the psyche.
They do not know what will happen, whether they will die or not. Survivors’ feelings of guilt can contribute to intrusive thoughts and cause post-traumatic stress disorder (Poulin and Silver 169). Those who decide to treat PTSD should keep in mind that getting rid of symptoms does not take long. One can cure this disease in a few meetings with a specialist, even without medications.
Dhabhar, Firdaus S. “The Short-Term Stress Response – Mother Nature’s Mechanism for Enhancing Protection and Performance under Conditions of Threat, Challenge, and Opportunity.” Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 175-192. Web.
Ford, Brett Q., et al. “The Psychological Health Benefits of Accepting Negative Emotions and Thoughts: Laboratory, Diary, and Longitudinal Evidence.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 115, no. 6, 2018, pp. 1075-1092. Web.
Poulin, Michael J., and Silver, Roxane Cohen. “What Might Have Been: Near Miss Experiences and Adjustment to a Terrorist Attack.” Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 11, no. 2, 2020, pp. 168–175. Web.
Siregar, Martha, et al. “Near-Miss Accident Analysis for Traffic Safety Improvement at a ‘Channelized’ Junction with U-Turn.” International Journal of Safety and Security Engineering, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 31-38. Web.