car crashes, Collisions, Rubbernecking, Tailgating

Rubbernecking can contribute to the traffic jams around a crash site


“Curiosity killed the cat” might be a warning to the rubberneckers who cause traffic jams when there is a vehicle crash in their path.  Even drivers on either side of the road where a collision takes place can cause a slowdown of traffic and unnecessary frustrations for others on the road.  Slowing down just to get a close look at what has happened, who got hurt or who is on the scene of the collision can make the situation worse for those who are involved in the crash and those who are trying to help them.

Remember the MOVE OVER law, in effect in all 50 states and the District of Columbia: moveover_imagereduce your speed when you hear sirens or see flashing lights of emergency vehicles, and change lanes when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road to create space for them to do their job.  Slowing down too much can make things worse;  a disruption in the flow of moving traffic can cause a chain reaction – as one driver brakes slightly, and the drivers behind them brake slightly to avoid hitting them. This braking will eventually magnify until it creates a traffic jam.

Avoid tailgating, and help keep the flow of traffic moving by maintaining proper distance – 3 seconds at highway speeds and 2 seconds at city speeds.  This tactic helps other drivers change lanes safely.  Stay focused on driving instead of giving in to the distractions of a collision, and be a contributor to keeping traffic moving instead of becoming an additional obstacle.