Traffic accidents are widespread in the industrialized world. Traffic accident, in other words motor vehicle accident or car accident was defined as the collision of a moving vehicle with another vehicle or object along a road. As it was reported in DSM-5 (2013), severe automobile accidents were classified as directly experienced traumatic events.
Traffic accidents causing human injuries or death are reported by World Health Organization (WHO, 2012) as the leading cause of death by injury and the tenth leading cause of all deaths. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3000 people die on the roads every day and tens of millions of people are injured or disabled every year. As Blanchard and Hickling (1998) stated,approximately 20% of the American population reported to have an experience of a severe traffic accident. Similarly, traffic accidents were reported as the most frequent trauma for American males and the second most frequent trauma for females (Kessler et al., 1995).
In Turkey, the prevalence rates of traffic accidents are very high. According to the Republic of Turkey, General Directorate of Highways’ report (Trafik Güvenliği Dairesi Başkanlığı, 2015), in 2014, the total number of traffic accidents in Turkey was 1.199.010; the number of death was 3524, and 285059 individuals were injured. Turkey ranked third among the European countries in terms of the number of accidents that resulted in death or injury, and fifth in terms of death rate. However, when the number of vehicles is proportioned, Turkey is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of death rates as a result of traffic accidents. Furthermore, despite its decreasing number, traffic accidents are still an important problem in Turkey; because, traffic accidents cause severe physical and psychological injuries due to the significant and permanent
disabilities and also the death of loved ones. Furthermore, Özkan (2006), in his cross cultural study examining the differences between countries in terms of traffic safety showed that Southern Europe and the Middle East countries that were investigated in this study, namely Greece, Iran, and Turkey were much more worse than Northern and Western Europe countries such as Finland, Great Britain, and the Netherlands in terms of traffic safety records.
The results of the studies in the literature supported the importance of the problem of the traffic accidents. As Blanchard and Hickling (1998) demonstrated,there are active research groups in Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. However, in Turkey, due to high prevalence of traffic accidents and rates of injury and death as a result of these accidents there is a need for further studies about this issue. The psychological consequences of traffic accidents, and the variables related to these reactions need more attention in the psychology literature, especially so in Turkey, in order to understand which variables are related to psychological consequences so that effective intervention studies can be planned.