Car Crash

Rubbernecking is a serious issue on highways everywhere. After one car accident, drivers who go past the scene often slow down and look at the crash. While slowing down can be helpful in some cases -- as slower traffic can help keep emergency responders safe -- it also leads to traffic jams and, in some cases, secondary accidents. This is most apparent, for example, when a crash on one side of a divided highway leads to accidents on the other side. Those drivers aren't slowing down because their lanes are blocked or to protect emergency crews, but just to catch a glimpse of the crash.

Blocking the View

One potential solution that researchers have been toying with is setting up screens around a crash to block the view for other drivers. With the accident hidden, they hope drivers will just continue on at a normal rate of speed, not slowing down or becoming distracted and looking away from the road. The combination of those two factors is to blame for many secondary crashes.

Do They Work?

Simulations suggest that the screens can work, but only if they completely block the drivers' view. In the simulations, drivers gawked at accidents with no screens -- they were wearing eye-tracking devices -- and there wasn't much change when screens were set up to block most of the view. They still stared, trying to see around the screens and catch a glimpse of the destruction. When they couldn't see at all, though, the time they spent looking at the screens fell considerably.

Distracted Accidents

Though this idea is promising, accidents caused by rubbernecking are still a serious concern for drivers all over the United States. If a crash distracted another driver and then he or she ran into your vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and much more. Drivers are expected to drive safely and ignore distractions, even though studies show they consistently struggle to do so.

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