The ABC’S of Behavior

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Let’s use a driving example and apply the ABC Model to it. In this hypothetical, you’re running late for a meeting. So, to make it to the meeting in time, you start to speed. The antecedent is that you’re late for the meeting, the behavior is speeding, and the consequence (expected result) is to make it to the meeting in time.

How Accidents Happen

We behave in certain ways because we expect rewards, but not everything goes as planned. That is, sometimes we have accidents. Let’s return to the example. You’re running late for work, so you start to speed up and tailgate the guy in front of you. You expect this will get you to the meeting on time. Instead, traffic stops suddenly and you end-up in a rear-end collision. Pop quiz: what caused the rear-end collision? Traffic stopping suddenly? Not quite. The unsafe behavior of following a car too closely caused the accident.

How Accidents Can be Prevented

We make unwise and unsafe choices all the time, thinking it will get us what we want. Maybe we speed and follow someone too closely to get to our destination sooner, or the next time we text and drive because the conversation seems urgent. Or even just at home, we stand on an unstable chair to reach a spider on the ceiling because we don’t want to take the time to grab the step ladder. Most of the time, we get away with these short-cuts. If we didn’t succeed most of the time, we wouldn’t do it. When we don’t, though, we end up much worse off than we would have by taking the less risky behavior. Sometimes, the results can even be tragic.

Accidents are prevented when people recognize their unsafe behaviors and that the risk never outweighs the reward. It’s not stupidity, but rather ignorance. Ignorance can easily be corrected through interventive training and education. Train your professional driving fleet on how to drive defensively. Educate your employees on hazards found in the workplace. Education and training on safety, risk, and avoiding accidents saves companies time, money, and a whole lot of trouble. Most importantly, it saves lives.