Car accident “suicides”

Reading the information from the state government Road Safety Commission on fatal car accidents. A lot is written indeed, like the three main causes of fatal accidents are alcohol, speed and driver fatigue. In all that I have read there is never even one mention of people using car crashes as a type of suicide attempt.

In my work as a psychologist with suicidal people I often ask if they have thought or planned suicide and many report they have. Then I will ask what was their plan. The use of a car to kill self is a common response. Driving at high speed into a tree or object near the road or driving a car off a bridge are cited.

The road safety commission says:

“The contribution of fatigue is greater in night-time accidents and in accidents occurring in rural areas. Because rural speeds are generally high and because sleeping drivers do not take evasive action, fatigue-related accidents are often severe”.

Suicidal drivers also don’t take evasive action. Listening to client’s speak about their car crash suicide plan they often will say that they will choose a secluded location such as a rural stretch of road. As you can get to higher speeds and you are less likely to come across a slower driver in front of you.
They often have the place clearly picked out and have surveyed it a number of times before. I have heard many report that they were heading down the road at high speed coming towards the tree and then at the last moment something clicked inside them and they couldn’t do it.

Cars are easily accessible and one simply has to accelerate to high speed to make the car potentially lethal. Making it a very convenient choice of suicide plan. 

Also one hears people report that they will try to make their suicide look like an accident for three common reasons

1. They don’t want to leave their loved ones with the stigma of having a relative who suicided

2. They don’t want to leave their loved ones with feeling guilty in any way

3. Some believe their life insurance policy won’t pay out for a suicide.

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