A manuscript I read recently started with a car wreck like this one. Exciting, isn't it? Or is it? We may wonder whether Jim lives or dies, but the fact is, we don't know Jim. If he's the villain on the heels of our protagonist, we would cheer his demise. But if he's an adorable Labradoodle who has accidentally engaged the transmission in his human's car, we'd cringe and squeeze our eyes shut. So much depends on knowing our protagonist, and this is where many beginning novelists have trouble: they don't understand that actions are not inherently dramatic. A car chase, a bomb going off, a burglary: these can be artificial means to inject drama into an opening chapter and they don't always work. If we don't care in some way about the people involved, those events won't have dramatic impact for the reader.
Creating dramatic tension requires finding the right place to begin your story, and that can be surprisingly difficult to do! A novel's opening should find the protagonist on the threshold of a major change, where the change is a shift from one emotional state to another. Sure, a bomb going off is a state-shift for a protagonist, but if we don't know what's at stake for the protagonist--and if the change happening to the protagonist is merely passive--it won't matter for the reader. If your protagonist is a soccer mom who turns to a life of crime, you may find that starting with a bank robbery in progress is less interesting to the reader than the moment at which an otherwise highly unlikely person says to herself "I don't have enough money to get my kid his new soccer shoes. And the only way to solve it is that I'm going to walk into that bank and rob it, using the bar of soap in my pocket as a gun." Starting with the moment of decision or inciting incident will also spare you having to fill in a lot of back story while your robbery is in progress.
There are many great resources for thinking about plotting, including Lisa Cron's Story Genius. But if you've written a manuscript and you're just not sure whether it starts in the right place, a manuscript evaluation of either the entire manuscript or the first 100 pages can help you quickly get to the root of the problem.
Here's to strong beginnings in 2018!