Ode to a Rubbernecker on Southbound CA 87

Look on the
Side of the road!

A car!

Red! A red car!

A red car on the
Side of the road!

And more!
A police car!

A police car
And a red car,
Both on the
Side of the road!

Right there!
Right by the
Red car by the
Police car on the
Side of the road!

A policeman!
A policeman by the
Red car by the
Police car on the
Side of the road!

My life has become
More fulfilling now that
I have made note of this
Fascinating discovery.

I think I’ll go faster than
Ten miles per hour.

Crumpled red car
and flashing lights, must slow to peek…
But where is the body?

:: snaps in approval ::

I’ve wondered for quite a while what was going through these peoples minds.

Every morning there is some horrible slowdown on the 85, the 87, or the 101 because of rubberneckers.

What could be so fascinating? Are these people truly that desperate to see some poor bastard dying by the side of the road that they must crawl by at five miles an hour and gloat? Why must their mouths literally hang open while they creep by?

You’ve answered these questions for me Punoqllads, thank you.

I hate rubberneckers. HATE them…

btw, where in CA is the 87? I’ve never heard of that one.

Rubberneckers are the only decent argument I’ve heard for repealing the assault weapons ban. And the ban on hood mounted flamethrowers.

Hear, hear! :cool: I like to lay on the horn and watch them instantly speed up to 80 mph the second they pass by the damn stalled car or what not.
Now, I’m sure there’s going to be at least one rubbernecking Straight Doper who will reply here trying to justify why they drive so idiotically :rolleyes:

CA-87 is somewhere in San Jose (& points north, I think).

Impeding traffic while passing the scene of an accident is now a ticketable offense in California.

Stalled on side of road
Call me paranoid, but I
Saw a human head!

Grrrrr there is nothing more annoying then getting stuck in a mile long verrrrrrrrry slow traffic jam, only discover the traffic is back to normal as soon as everyone has finished watching some guy get a speeding ticket.

Stupid rubberneckers aside, arn’t you supposed to slow down and change lanes away from a parked police cruiser on a highway? This could account for part of the traffic jam around an police stop.

And for rubbernecking, not me. I don’t want to see someone’s insides…

87 is, indeed, in San Jose and links highways 85, 280, and 101. The part between 280 and 101 is still under construction and is a complete freaking nightmare during rush hour.

Actually, it’s not necessarily rubbernecking. I’ve lost the address, but there was a cool little website with animations of traffic movement and it shows that these kinds of jams can persist even after the accident has been cleared and removed from view.

What happens is that:

 C     B     A    -->

Car A slows down at the sight of an accident or other disturbance.

         C  B   A   -->

Car B slows down sharply to avoid hitting A, and car C might stop completely to avoid hitting B. Now cars begin to pile up behind C, even as A accelerates away and B more gradually resumes normal speed.

  G    FED C     B       A   -->

Car C will start moving when B gets a safe distance away. By this time, Cars D-G are all stopped and each car moves only after the car in front of it does. The highway now has a clog that is gradually moving “upstream”. The only way it clears is when traffic thins out enough that no more cars have to stop behind G. If H comes down the road and G is already moving (because F has moved off a safe distance, and F is moving because E has moved off a safe distance, etc) then H doesn’t have to stop at all and the clog dissipates. In very heavy traffic, forget it. Such clogs can last for hours, even after the initial rubbernecker is long gone, leaving only people who mutter an angry "What the fuck? when the road suddenly opens up ahead of them,

Sorry to introduce facts into a Pit rant.

Yeah, the guy who wrote that website is/was a member here. Not sure about the validity of that idea, but otherwise, he was kinda a kook. :wink:
Anyway, what you’re saying my be true except for the fact that many times, you can watch the successions of heads turning inside their cars, the brake lights come on, and some poeple come to almost complete stops at accidents. It’s not because they’re forced to by other cars, it’s because they have to look.

I also am eager for a Doper to come in here and explain. I see probably 70-80 percent, as an estimate, of drivers participate in some sort of rubbernecking behavior in a typical situation, and I can’t believe I’m following the same people all the time, so there must be someone on here who does it and can explain why.

Where are you from?

Akin to the use of soda/pop/coke in different regions of the US when referring to carbonated beverages in general (pant pant): Southern Californians say “the” when referring to highways/freeways by number. ie, the 101, the 405.

Northern Californians usually don’t do this.

Why? I dunno.

THe only construction on 87 is at 101, and there’s no backlog at all, the lanes are just a little narrow. THe 87-85 interchange is finally complete(after more than 10 years). But there isn’t any construction at 280 AFAIK, nor has there been.


P.S.- fuck rubberneckers. they make me absolutely NUTS.

One of these days, I am going to install a cow-catcher on the front of my car to ram all those who rubberneck! Or maybe missile launchers…

Sam, have you tried to get to San Jose airport in the last two years–off of 87 (Guadalupe Parkway)?? Yes, indeed, it has been and continues to be under construction at least to Coleman.

I agree it is a mess, but it is better than it was.

Well…I don’t think I would qualify as a rubbernecker, but I do often slow down at the sight of accidents or flashing lights. Wait! Put down the flamethrowers and let me attempt to explain.

I have emergency medical training, and if there are no emergency vehicles yet on the scene, I will slow down to see if there appears to be any assistance I can give. If there are ambulance, police, fire, etc. already there, I will often slow down to make sure there is no debris or fluid spilled on the road, or any emergency personnell occupying road space (accidents often not being courteous enough to stay neatly on the shoulder).

Once I’ve ascertained that a) no one needs any help and b) the scene is safe to pass at a normal speed, then I’ll resume normal road speed.

Of course, none of that is an excuse for slowing down for what is clearly a traffic stop, a practice that I, also, find highly annoying.

Duh. I totally forgot about the downtown 87 clusterfuck. Most of that has cleared out nearer the police station…the mountain of earth that sat there for 4 years has even turned into an overpass and the bridges have reopened westward.

I’m more concerned about the wasted $$ on all of the in-city roads. At least Los Gatos(where I live), didn’t decide to dig Los Gatos Blvd.(Bascom Ave) down 4" and replace the ENTIRE ROAD for a 3rd year in a row. They did it 2 fucking years in a row, and there was never any reason for it!