Rubbernecking: A leading cause of car crashes

Montana and other states are noticing a significant increase in the number of rubbernecking-related vehicle accidents. While many of us don’t give much thought to the idea of checking out accident scenes while we’re driving, the reality is that it can be quite dangerous. Understanding the dangers of rubbernecking and how to avoid doing it can help to greatly reduce the number of vehicle accidents that happen each year.

What is rubbernecking?

For those who are unfamiliar, rubbernecking is a term given to the action of moving your head to get a better view of an accident scene. During this process, you’re shifting your attention off of the roadway and away from the task of driving. This increases your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Many people believe that looking away for a few seconds isn’t going to make a big difference. The scary reality is that it truly does. A driver traveling at 55 miles per hour will travel the length of a football field in five seconds. That means spending just five seconds of rubbernecking at an accident scene can leave you blind to a distance of roadway that is as long as a football field.

How to prevent a rubbernecking-related car accident

While rubbernecking is human nature, it can be extremely dangerous. It’s important to fight your survival instinct to understand what’s happening at the accident scene. Simply bring your eyes back onto the roadway and the task of driving. If you want to look at the accident scene, do so after you safely pull over and put your vehicle in park.