an accident waiting to happen

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Also found in: Acronyms.
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an accident waiting to happen

A person, thing, or situation that appears to be imminently dangerous or troublesome. Often but not always used somewhat humorously. Don't leave that ladder in the middle of the yard, it's just an accident waiting to happen! My toddler is starting to walk now, and she is just an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

an accident waiting to happen

COMMON
1. If you describe a situation or activity as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to be a cause of danger in the future. A lot of the city's buildings are accidents waiting to happen. The sudden explosion of a real bullet on stage during the play was an accident waiting to happen.
2. If you describe a person as an accident waiting to happen, you mean that they are likely to cause trouble or have bad problems. He was getting a reputation for being wild — an accident waiting to happen.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

an accident waiting to happen

1 a potentially disastrous situation, usually caused by negligent or faulty procedures. 2 a person certain to cause trouble.
1 1997 Times Accidents are often said to be ‘waiting to happen’. It does not take much imagination to see that the chaotic start to the Whitbread round-the-world race…could easily have ended in tragedy.
See also: accident, happen, waiting

an ˌaccident/a diˌsaster waiting to ˈhappen

a thing or person that is very likely to cause danger or a problem in the future because of the condition it is in or the way they behave: For many months local residents had been complaining that the building was unsafe, and that it was an accident waiting to happen.
References in periodicals archive ?
Some bands don't even achieve such a great track as An Accident Waiting To Happen, let alone give it away for free.
The failure of Britain's female sprint relay team to qualify for the Olympics was an accident waiting to happen, says the UK's head athletics coach.
Neighbours said the victim had left large quantities of paper piled up inside the front door of his flat, and they described the situation as an accident waiting to happen.
On a more serious note, can I suggest at least a 30-second delay in between traffic lights going red and the opposite lights going green as there is an accident waiting to happen because people do not understand that when lights turn red it means STOP.
This is an accident waiting to happen, surely, and very frustrating for you to watch sitting patiently in the queue.
Chris, of course, has a local alliance with the track, having been a stalwart of the Harwood yard in the glory years of Warning, Dancing Brave, etc, but in any case, surely, Goodwood's lead is one that other tracks ought to follow in an attempt to prevent what, in truth, is another serious accident waiting to happen.
The Home Office and the Department of Works and Pensions knew it was an accident waiting to happen.
The I-5 route is truly an accident waiting to happen,'' Schaevitz said in testimony before the rail authority last week.
THE son of a worker killed at a metals scrap yard at Denbigh told a jury that the yard was "an accident waiting to happen.
Chinese lanterns have been an accident waiting to happen and it is only a matter of time before a house burns down.
Restrictions need to be put into place - this is an accident waiting to happen.
A CRASH in which a police car hit a 67-year-old woman as she crossed a busy road was an accident waiting to happen, road safety campaigners claim.
Driving the last few months having travelled along Longwood Road and Lowergate I have seen on the roads an accident waiting to happen.
People say this was an accident waiting to happen as cars are driven up and down Upleatham Street really fast with cars parked on both sides," said Jane.
ITALY striker Giampaolo Pazzini reckons the new match balls to be used in South Africa are an accident waiting to happen.