After seeing two scary accidents in two days, I have witnessed my share of “gawking,” or “rubbernecking.” It made me wonder, why are we so compelled to slow down to try to get a glimpse of accidents? Are we just curious about others’ well being, or are we really deep down terrified because we are scared of what could happen to us at any moment behind the wheel?
Rubber-necking becomes beyond obnoxious when the driver poses a danger for others, either by slowing way down, swerving because they aren’t watching the road, or generally pointing and staring to the point of rudeness. However, it does seem natural for us to care about the victims of the accident, and to know the “news” of the community. What some gawkers fail to realize is that the worse possible thing they can do is cause another accident because they can’t keep their eyes on the road and move on. It’s like the six year old that gets hurt at soccer, and the team crowds around him so much that he gets even more upset. Back it up, the ref would say. If only there were road “refs.” The police are too busy helping people.
Regardless, the best advice is to “gawk” safely—with a compassionate, curious heart, and preferably not from the drivers’ seat.
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