Curiosity is in our nature, so it's no wonder when there's an accident, traffic is slowed tremendously because of onlookers. The term "rubbernecking" means the physical act of one's neck turning to catch a better look at what's happening around them. Rubbernecking is also very dangerous and a form of distracted driving.
Distracted driving carries with it huge risks. The chances of being in an accident while distracted is increased. Rubbernecking involves a conscious decision to stare at something outside of your car, rather than paying attention to the road. Typically, this behavior involves staring at a car accident. In many instances, drivers will slow down and even bring traffic to a standstill as they try to satisfy their curiosity and get a better look at the aftermath of a collision. Most of us have been guilty of this at least once or twice in our lives. After all, there is a natural tendency to want to see what caused your traffic delay and the sight of twisted metal – even if you are moments away from yelling at the drivers in front of you for doing the exact same thing.
It doesn’t take long for a rubbernecking accident to happen. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of getting into a car accident.Think about how short three seconds is... Count to three slowly. One. Two. Three. In that time, you could have injured someone, killed someone, or run your own or another vehicle off the road. Approximately 100 people die in vehicle crashes every day, and 94 percent of all car accidents are due to driver error. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate 25 percent of all car accidents are the result of a distracted driver.
Prevent Rubbernecking: Don't Do It In times like these, it is vital to pay even more attention to what’s going on in front of you — because nobody else is. Every other driver is likely rubbernecking, just like you are tempted to do. Rubbernecking is such a traffic safety problem that first responders are placing barriers around accidents to prevent people from looking. That’s because prevention works in distracted driving. People who don’t text don’t get in as many accidents as people who do. People who don’t rubberneck don’t get in as many accidents as those who do. So the barriers work as a preventive mechanism.There’s another simple form of prevention: Drive responsibly. Don’t rubberneck. Contribute to the reduction of distracted driving across the United States.
Do what you can to avoid staring at a crash site and prevent adding to the statistics.