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The Dangers of Rubbernecking

By David Boehrer | Posted on February 11, 2021

Rubbernecking is a dangerous form of distracted driving that can cause rear-end collisions, pile-up accidents, and pedestrian injuries.

Rubbernecking: A Dangerous Distraction

Rubbernecking is a commonly used term for a type of distracted driving. It occurs when a motor vehicle driver focuses on something that’s happening outside of their vehicle, rather than focusing on the road. Common rubbernecking distractions include roadside accidents, disabled vehicles, pedestrian accidents, police activity, fires, and animals in distress.

Rubbernecking causes traffic to slow down or come to a halt. When this occurs, unprepared drivers are often caught in sudden stops and multiple car pile-up collisions. In busy, congested areas, car accident lawyers often see pedestrians who are injured by rubbernecking when a car drifts into another lane or runs up on a city sidewalk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25% of all car accidents are caused by distracted driving, accounting for about 1,000 injures each day. It’s estimated that 10 to 16% of car accidents are caused by rubbernecking. When a driver is rubbernecking, he/she may slow down or stop, pull off the road, or continue to drive while looking back over his/her shoulder. Some drivers may even attempt to take photos or videos with a mobile phone while passing the scene.

Experts agree that taking eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles a driver’s risk for a serious car accident with injuries and fatalities. There is a residual effect caused by distractions which makes the driver less attentive to the road for an average of 27 seconds after the distraction ends. While there are many distractions on the road, rubbernecking is different because it involves a conscious decision to take the eyes off the road. Rubbernecking can bring traffic to a complete stop or cause a fatal crash simply because a driver is focused on some type of incident.

Car accidents can result in serious consequences. As well as physical injuries, car accident lawyers handle many cases where accident victims suffer from mental and emotional trauma for years following an accident. When car accidents cause permanent injuries, disabilities, or death, family members may also face significant burdens that impact future lifestyle. If car accidents are caused by rubbernecking, car accident lawyers may prove driver negligence to help victims recover compensation.

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