I see these crashes in the peloton and I not only wince, I feel their pain. I relive a bit of my own recent fall.
Taking a big spill while mountain biking on an oft-ridden trail last month, I ended up with 17 fractures and I'm relegated to six weeks in a torso brace. Before this, I'd never had so much as a scrape in 4,000+ cycling miles a year for 25+ years. But now I know the feel of a bad fall. I know now that two crashes which look similar can have dramatically dissimilar results.
I also know that I cannot wait to get back on both my Cannondale road bike and my Raleigh mountain bike. I hope to have great time in some fall tours. I cannot predict at this point, however, what I will be thinking about potential hazards on the road and trail.
For now, I watch and empathize with the guys who hit the pavement and ditches.