Almost three quarters of UK drivers have admitted to “rubbernecking”, according to recent research.
The study found that 72% of drivers admitted to looking at incidents on the other side of the road as they drive past, with 10% even admitting that they’d slow down to get a better look.
Slowing down to view the aftermath of a road traffic accident not only causes congestion but can cause further collisions as distracted drivers take their eyes off the road to concentrate on what’s going on elsewhere.
Police take rubbernecking very seriously. Earlier this month, it was reported that more than 10 rubberneckers face police charges after slowing down to record video footage of a serious collision on the M5.
A Worrying Number of UK Drivers Think Rubbernecking is Acceptable
The study into the rubbernecking habits of UK drivers was carried out by insurance comparison site confused.com. They found that nearly half of drivers (48%) thought that it was “only human to be curious” when witnessing a road traffic accident, despite putting themselves and other drivers at potential risk of another collision.
Worryingly, one in seven drivers have witnessed another motorist taking photos at the scene of a crash. A quarter of all drivers surveyed did believe that rubbernecking is disrespectful to the people injured in the accident; it’s a shame that almost twice as many think that this dangerous practice is acceptable.
Can “Incident Screens” Deter Rubberneckers?
In 2009, the Highways Agency introduced “incident screens” in an effort to deter drivers from rubbernecking.
At two metres high and up to 75 metres in length, the UK government commissioned the use of the screens so that they could keep motorways flowing and help make would-be-rubberneckers realise that there is nothing to see, and no reason for them to slow down or take their eyes off the road.
Although the screens have been used just 77 times over the past few years, according to the confused.com study more than a quarter of UK drivers (27%) think that the screens should always be used to block accident scenes from view.
A default use of incident screens at collision sites could definitely deter rubberneckers and another good deterrent is the tough stance that police are taking against rubberneckers, which is to be welcomed.
Driver education is equally important to make those tempted to slow down and look at an accident scene realise not only that their actions could make another collision much more likely, but that they would be liable for any injuries caused to other road users as a result of their negligent driving.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading personal injury law firm and offer a free consultation for people injured in road traffic accidents through no fault of their own.
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