Using a cell phone, reaching for a fallen item, and eating in the car while driving is all examples of distracted driving. Rubbernecking, one of the deadliest kinds of distracted driving, is an often-overlooked cause of distracted driving.
A casual peek at the traffic chaos on the side of the road may quickly transform into something lot more serious in a matter of seconds. Rubbernecking accidents can result in serious injury, major property damage, and even death.
What Is Rubbernecking and How Does It Occur?
Drivers that engage in rubbernecking slow down to better look at anything uncommon in the rear-view mirror. Such as an arrest, a car accident (or the damage it has sustained), or some other strange occurrence. Consequently, the automobile behind them may not have time to respond, resulting in a rear-end collision.
Rubbernecking is difficult for specialists to solve since it is so easily avoidable in the first place by drivers. The truth is that we all get a little sidetracked at some point throughout a journey. It is practically impossible to avoid.
Several things may go wrong when you are driving, like your children hitting each other in the car or another driver startling you with their horn. Things come up, and a lot of them are completely unanticipated.
Rubbernecking, on the other hand, is a completely different activity. Rubbernecking is the deliberate choice to look away from the road to focus on anything outside your automobile. Staring at an accident scene is the most common way to engage in this conduct. To satisfy their curiosity and obtain a closer look at the aftermath of a crash, many motorists may slow down or even halt traffic.
What Are the Dangers of Rubbernecking?
Your chances of getting into an accident go up dramatically if you take your eyes off the road. Shifting your focus for a few seconds away from the road might result in a collision with the rear of the vehicle in front of you if you’re not paying attention. Rubbernecking can also induce cars to slow down, leading to a rear-end collision with the motorist behind you.
You should never let anything distract you when you’re behind the wheel. Drivers who take their eyes off the road for a brief second might end up in a tragic disaster.
If rubbernecking causes an accident, the person who did it will probably be held liable and responsible for compensating the victims.
It is best to drive safely and defensively at all times. As with texting and driving, you should avoid both whenever you’re behind the wheel of a car.
Traffic Congestion on the Freeway Due to Onlookers
Rubbernecking causes traffic congestion by slowing down the flow of oncoming vehicles, which is a major worry for auto accident lawyers.
Many motorists in the opposite direction of the collision will slow down and gaze at the accident for longer than is necessary, causing traffic to back up behind them due to their inaction.
According to the existing studies on the subject, rubbernecking in the other lane can impede traffic in those lanes wholly unrelated to the accident by anything from 12 percent to 50 percent.
It’s riskier to be driving in the other lane and find yourself in a gridlock without a real collision interfering with traffic flow. Traffic slowdown and subsequent quick braking chain response usually result in further accidents until the original traffic issue is resolved.
Driving While Distracted by Rubbernecking Is a Leading Cause of Car Accidents
According to 2003 research by Virginia University, rubbernecking was the leading cause of distracted driving accidents. With today’s excessive use of mobile phones and texting, the ranking would surely be greater if they conducted this poll again. Nonetheless, rubberneckers are still a major reason for causing accidents and injuries.
When driving, every motorist has to avoid distractions and keep their eyes on the road. It is possible for the victim of an accident caused by a negligent driver to file a claim for compensation against the rubbernecker who was oblivious to the danger.
Common Reasons for Rubbernecking
Our need to learn and explore new things is innate in us. As it turns out, they used the word rubbernecking in the 1800s to describe a behavior that we now refer to as eavesdropping.
Eventually, it came to denote the act of stopping to gaze at a car accident. People instinctively slow down when they encounter an accident on the road or highway. They want to know what occurred. Adaptation to the environment might be a factor.
There has been an increase in people capturing drive-by images of accidents as social media apps like Facebook and Instagram have become increasingly prevalent. This is not the first time these drivers have put others at risk by losing focus off the road in front of them while using a phone to take pictures.
Rubbernecking can cause accidents, even though it is understandable by human nature.
Preventing Rubbernecking Drivers from Attacking You
After a distraction has ended, drivers continue to pay less attention to the road for an average of 27 seconds. Rubberneckers may not be able to adapt to changing conditions because of this.
Drivers must be more vigilant and cautious when other drivers are rubbernecking a crash or if there is another occurrence on the road.
Your ability to avoid a collision may depend on your capability to respond quickly. Safety suggestions that can keep you out of harm’s way are mentioned below:
- Try to go into the furthest lane feasible if you witness an accident.
- Use your turn signals whenever you have to change lanes.
- Make sure that you switch on your hazard lights if you cannot move over and are forced to halt. Or slow down for whatever reason.
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked or tempted by the temptation to rubberneck.
- Constantly scan the area for emergency personnel.
- The last thing you want is for your passengers to move around or otherwise obstruct your view.
- Use your side and rear-view mirrors to keep an eye out for other cars.
Rubbernecking accidents can leave its victims seriously injured. Bringing a lawsuit becomes more difficult when more than one car is involved in an accident.
A personal injury lawyer could help you. They can determine if you have a case for damages if you were involved in a rubbernecking accident.