Let me draw a picture for you. It’s Friday afternoon. It had been a long week and I left work early. I was ready to get home and put the week behind me. Flying down the highway, I was that much closer to a cold beer. Then I pull off onto another highway and suddenly it’s bumper to bumper traffic. What the hell? I left early and I don’t hear Jesse and Joey: The Rush Hour Renegades, so this isn’t rush hour traffic. What is going on?
Ten minutes and two miles and there is no sign of change. It has become clear there must be some kind of accident up ahead. Fuck. Several more minutes of this stop and go bullshit and finally I get close and see there is in fact an accident, on the shoulder, on the other side of the median. The accident happened going THE OTHER FUCKING WAY!
With no crashed cars, cops, emergency vehicles, or even car debris there is nothing to obstruct the flow of traffic heading my way. This long line of slowly moving automobiles is caused by people who want to gawk and the less than horrific fender bender that happened on the far shoulder.
I don’t understand people’s perverse, voyeuristic desire to ogle auto accidents. I would say that over the past month I have driven past half a dozen accidents. Taking that as the mean, and multiply it by the number of years I’ve been able to look out of a window in the car, it is safe to say I have seen my fair share of accidents. I would also use this to say that most other people have also seen a fair amount of car crashes. So where does the desire to see one more come from? Are they hoping this is the one that will be worse than any other they have ever seen? Will this be the time they see a mangled body? What the fuck is wrong with people?
Let’s have some empathy for these people who just wrecked. They just experienced a very intense event. They’re shaken up, maybe even hurt, probably confused; they don’t need a bunch of assholes staring at them. Imagine it was you. You’re on the side of the road trying to tell the officer what happened, then you look away in an effort to gain your composure and you see a bunch of jerk offs staring at you like you’re a god damned Magic Eye picture.
I hope your inability to keep your eyes on the road and stay focused on the task at hand, e.g. driving, causes you to get into a crash and you have to feel the judging, un-sympathizing eyes staring you down as you make sure you can feel all your extremities. Go ahead and think about that next time you gaze at a crash on the road.
If a couple of guys like us can have a website where we talk about Muppets, donuts, and have pictures of this guy, then surely there exists a website or a dozen devoted to showing auto wrecks. Look at accidents there, from the safety of your home or office. A place you are less likely to affect my drive and keep me from enjoying a delicious beer.
So with nothing new to see, and showing some human decency, let’s put a stop to rubber necking. If there’s a wreck, just keep forward and drive on by. It is under control. If it is worth seeing, it will be on the local news cast. We can end rubber neck in our life time, and I hope to see that.
See ya in the carpool lane….
17 Jun 2009 Lee S. Hart