"Curiosity" Slowdowns

I’m sure this has been complained about a million billion times on this board, but I can’t stand the way some drivers slow down and cause traffic jams to look at an accident (or whatever).

Today I had the privilege of being right behind one of these people who actually start the jam. He (or she) slows down from 50 to about 10, with no traffic in front of him (or her).

Dude, have you never seen an accident before? Do you think that this is your Lucky Day and a naked lady will be standing at the side of the road? Do you think that the accident victims appreciate you gawking at them? Get a freakin’ life.

Agreed. I just wanna choke some of these bastards, with their morbid fascination.

Having been the one standing on the side of the road after an accident, and having seen all these voyeuristic shitheads cruising by and ogling the carnage - and, in one case, even pointing (oooh, look! I’ll bet THAT sure hurt!), it’s safe to say I’m far better off for having been unarmed at that moment.

I’d say they were far better off as well, but applying .38-caliber chlorine to those particular gene-pool germs would’ve given the rest of the vultures something even MORE interesting to goggle at.

I’m glad you included that bit, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve cursed the dumb radio travel announcer for saying that people were ‘rubbernecking’ on the motorway, when in fact I slowed down because the guy in front of me did (he slowed down for the same reason and so on, right up to the original person, who is now long gone, who slowed down because they were alarmed by witnessing the accident as it happened).

Just yesterday, I had a driver in front of me stare at a large construction vehicle doing roadwork. Yup, no smashed cars, no bloody corpses, just a big machine. I almost never get worked up over little things, but I think I actually yelled, “GO, IT"S JUST A FREAKIN MACHINE” in my car!

I’d like to expand upon this theme for the benefit of the residents of St. Louis, MO:


While I agree that this behavior is quite irritating, I think that (from a pro-survival) point of view it is pretty justified.

IIRC, it is pretty basic primate behavior to stop and observe things that are out of the ordinary. Call it the Curious George adaptation.

I would guess that these non-normal events represent potential danger and the little ape within is goaded in to observing it (just in case).

All that said, I am not sure how I feel about apes driving……

I always slow down when there is something out of the ordinary on the side of the road. It is all about safety.

I am certainly not going to barrel by the scene of an accident at 60 miles an hour. There are people (sometime kids) by the side of the road, cops parked partly in the road, tow trucks, etc. You have to slow down to be safe.

I would never point. That is just rude.

It’s one of those “learn to live with other people’s needs” things. I don’t like driving, and I really don’t like driving in traffic, but then, I’m not sitting in an air-conditioned car, with the radio on, cell phone ready. I usually drive to get places as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, there are also people on the road who aren’t in a great hurry, and would like a spot of entertainment. If they’d watch the accident while it was on the news, why not watch it on the road? They probably don’t know (or care) that slowing causes traffic jams. But I can’t in good conscious say they shouldn’t be allowed to slow down. I would, if I saw something that interested me (like an unusual plane at the airport).

It occurred to me as I was reading that at least some (1%?) of the people slowing down are health professionals. Doctors aren’t allowed to pass public accident situations–I guess if there’s no other professional in evidence, and it’s serious–I don’t know the exact rules, and I gather they’re somewhat loosely acted on. A relative has Red Cross emergency training, we passed a bad accident one day heading for vacation. We slowed, pulled over and stopped for a half hour.

Finally, the ways to solve slowdowns and traffic jams will piss off most drivers, for example to either automatically ticket people who slow (using cameras), or somewhat further in the future, to regulate car speed so cars can’t slow unless they leave the roadway. Speeding, of course, would also be automatically controlled. Frankly, it wouldn’t bother me, but I bet most people would rather live with traffic jams caused by rubber neckers.

Okay, from someone who works occassionally on the other side of this problem, at the accident, a little bit of caution is sometimes greatly appreciated. It all depends upon the exact layout of the crash site, but it is also generally not a good idea to go blowing six inches past a fire truck, rescue, ambulance, or police car at 60 miles an hour. Often times emergency personel need to access gear from the side of the truck exposed to traffic, and it really helps to have drivers who are going slow enough to actually stop if they have to to let someone safely access something from their vehicle.

My impression would be that people generally try to get through bottlenecks in traffic too quickly and too recklessly.


For what it’s worth, when I see people slowing down around accidents or other unusual things, they are typically slowing down far in excess of what is necessary for safety.

Very frequently, the accident is clearly on the other side of a divider.

I agree that the problem is that many people can’t override their instincts. As humans, we aspire to do so but fail all to often.