The dangers of rubbernecking

2018-12-04 06:00
PHOTO: sourcedMotorists rubbernecking at an accident scene.

PHOTO: sourcedMotorists rubbernecking at an accident scene.

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RUBBERNECKING occurs when drivers stare at accidents as they pass a scene. While it is tempting to try and see what is going on, rubbernecking can be very dangerous and lead to serious accidents.

According to Hillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith, motorists cause further traffic disruptions when they slow down just to see an accident, and that slowing down may cause an accident itself.

“It is human nature to be curious but we always ask the community to please not do this as it is dangerous to themselves and also the responders attending the current accident scene,” she said.

Smith said that as much as they ask the public not to do it, they can’t change human nature: “We would just like the community to be more cautious when approaching accident scenes, and also bear in mind that it could be one of their own loved ones involved. We would prefer to give 100% at an accident scene with injuries than having to also direct traffic at the same time,” she said.

SACCW founder and Hillcrest CPF chairman Steven King said rubbernecking is nothing unusual, in fact is one of the most natural things for humans.

“We are attracted to danger — we just have to stop and stare — unfortunately there is also another saying; curiosity killed the cat,” said King. He went on to say that, unfortunately, there is a lot of truth in that statement: “Many secondary accidents have occurred as a result of curiosity and rubbernecking, especially with social media today there is this hype to be the first to release the news and that can sometimes come at a price,” he said.

King advised motorists approaching a scene to slowdown, keep their head in the vehicle, eyes front, and to concentrate on what’s happening in front of them.

“Keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you don’t want to be the cause of someone else rubbernecking because you caused an accident,” he said.

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