an accident waiting to happen

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

accident waiting to happen, an

A recipe for disaster. The phrase is used for such diverse circumstances as a large pothole causing an auto accident, an airplane flight on a collision course, or a small leak that ends in a billion-dollar oil spill like that in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It appears in the lyrics of several popular songs, such as the one quoted above.
See also: accident, waiting
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Because it's an accident waiting to happen. Safety measures are definitely needed."
Patrons said the stretch of road was an accident waiting to happen.
But a trio of Conservatives voiced their concern that local roads would not be able to cope with heavy goods vehicles and that one particular junction was "an accident waiting to happen".
Her PS600 pram was an accident waiting to happen as the front wheels kept falling off.
"This was literally an accident waiting to happen."
Sending him to a young offender institution, Judge Wendy Joseph QC said: "You were an accident waiting to happen. The victim could have been any pedestrian.
"Just need to catch on the pedals and it's an accident waiting to happen."
RESIDENTS say a crash at new junction under construction in Coventry was an accident waiting to happen.
THE death of a young father after he became trapped under a giant steel girder was an accident waiting to happen, a court has heard.
Cyclists on our roads are an accident waiting to happen, they look at the motorist as if we should not be on the road, and we pay to use them.
As this effectively blinds motorists as they approach one of the two pedestrian crossings across this busy road, surely it's an accident waiting to happen, and one that our planning department should have seen coming?
This whole stretch is an accident waiting to happen. Many of the buildings have roads and footpaths on either side.
IT IS an accident waiting to happen on the approach to the University Hospital of Wales from the west of Western Avenue.
The ones at Greystone are an accident waiting to happen. I'm sure I'm not the only driver who's been waiting to be hit when stuck half way around a roundabout because of traffic tights.
After critics, including the city MP, branded part of the layout around Durham Market Place as "an accident waiting to happen" the county council announced yesterday it is to carry out further improvements.