Rubbernecking, which you may also know as accident gawking, is a common cause of crashes all around the United States. Many drivers are experienced enough to know that looking away from the road is dangerous, but they may still do so when they see an ambulance, crash or something interesting going on outside their vehicle.
Rubbernecking is a kind of distracted driving. When someone looks away from the road at things happening around them, they greatly increase the risk of crossing the center line, going off the road or getting into a rear-end collision.
Why do people get distracted while driving?
People tend to get distracted when they’re driving for a few different reasons. Some include:
- Being in fight or flight mode after seeing an intense collision
- Having empathy for what other people are going through
- Having destructive impulses, which means that they may enjoy witnessing violence or harm
- Morbid curiosity about what’s happening
- Attentional blink, which is when people rapidly switch attention from one thing to another
All of these issues can lead to someone rubbernecking, and in all cases, it’s still dangerous to do so.
Rubbernecking might help you see what’s happening along the side of the road or where a team of workers is in the roadway, but it’s extremely dangerous to you and others. It’s best if you can avoid doing so by being aware of the fact that it only takes a few seconds for a crash to occur.
If you’re not looking ahead at the road, you may miss common hazards like a car pulling out or someone putting on their brakes. That could means that you would hit someone without ever looking up to see the risk of a car crash.
If you get into a crash, know your rights and responsibilities
If you get into a collision with someone who was rubbernecking at the scene of a crash or another scenario, it’s important for you to know your rights. You can ask the other party to cover the cost of your medical care as well as lost wages and other damages you’ve suffered.