How Rubbernecking Causes Car Accidents By William Chanfrau, Jr. on July 08, 2023

car accidentMost drivers do their part to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road and minimize the risk of a car accident. Unfortunately, not all drivers are as attentive as they should be. As a result, the average driver is expected to be involved in three to four car crashes throughout their lifetime.

The causes of car accidents are varied and include rubbernecking. Rubbernecking causes car accidents by distracting a driver’s eyes and focus from the road. Car accident attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau, which serves Daytona Beach, FLPalm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas, warn drivers of the dangers of rubbernecking and the risk of a collision. 

What Is Rubbernecking?

The term rubbernecking dates back to the late 1800s. At the time, a rubbernecker referred to a person who was always listening to other people’s conversations or one who gazed around them in curiosity. Today, rubbernecking describes turning one’s head to stare at an accident or another situation on the side of the road.

Although many people agree that rubbernecking is a hindrance when on the road, drivers often find their attention drawn to distractions on the side of the road. Drivers may rubberneck out of concern, curiosity, or carelessness.

How Is Rubbernecking Dangerous?

Rubbernecking slows down traffic and delays drivers from reaching their destination on time. Unfortunately, rubbernecking is much more than an inconvenience. Rubbernecking is a dangerous habit that increases the risk of a car accident.

Rubbernecking Creates Traffic Jams

When drivers turn their heads to look at a collision, an emergency event, or another distraction on the side of the road, they usually slow down their vehicle. As traffic slows, it often creates a traffic jam. Traffic jams are not only frustrating, but they can also be unsafe. Heavy traffic minimizes the space between vehicles and leaves drivers less time to respond to their surroundings and the actions of other drivers.

Rubbernecking Takes a Driver’s Eyes Off the Road

Rubbernecking is a form of distracted driving. Rubbernecking takes a driver’s eyes off the road and surrounding vehicles. People often fail to recognize the danger of rubbernecking because they only look to the side of the road for a brief moment. However, when traveling 55 mph, a car can travel the length of a football field in about five seconds. Most drivers take their eyes off the road for more than five seconds when looking at an accident, so it’s as if they drive the length of a football field or longer with their eyes closed.

Rubbernecking Takes a Driver’s Focus Off the Road

Like other types of distraction, rubbernecking also takes a driver’s focus off the road. When drivers are looking at accidents or off-road situations, they stop paying attention to the vehicles and drivers around them, and their response time is delayed. Mental distractions significantly increase the risk of a car accident.

Can Someone Be Held Liable If Rubbernecking Causes a Car Accident? 

Drivers are liable for car accident damages when their reckless or negligent actions cause the crash. Since rubbernecking is a form of distracted driving, drivers can be held liable for collision damages if the plaintiff can demonstrate that rubbernecking caused the accident.

Contact Our Practice

Rubbernecking is a dangerous practice that increases the risk of a collision. If you have been injured in a car accident involving rubbernecking, you may be due substantial compensation for your losses. To discuss your case with lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau, send a message to our Daytona Beach law firm.

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Attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Chanfrau & Chanfrau has been serving Floridians in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas since 1976. With three attorneys and two locations, we have the resources to help you after an accident or injury. We are proud of our many achievements, including inclusion in:

  • America's Top 100 Attorneys
  • The National Trial Attorneys Top 100 List
  • Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite

For more information about our legal services, contact our firm online or call (386) 258-7313 today.

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