Beware of The Dangers of Rubbernecking

distracted driver on his phone
Madeleine Jones
April 20, 2021

We all know that feeling. The temptation of looking out the window of your car when you see a car accident or you are wondering why there is so much traffic. It’s just an impulse that can cause accidents every year. If you or a loved one gets involved in a car accident because of another driver’s rubbernecking, don’t hesitate to call our expert car accident lawyers for a free initial consultation.

woman driving a convertible car

What is Rubbernecking?

Rubbernecking is the act of staring at something interesting. It refers to motorists who have the tendency of craning their necks to gaze out of their cars to look at incidents on the road. It is associated with morbid curiosity. The distracted driver focuses their attention on somewhere else other than the road, thereby making them more likely to cause a car accident which results in severe injuries.

What Are The Causes of Rubbernecking?

Distracted driving took 3,142 lives in 2019 in the United States. The most common forms of distracted driving include flashing lights, eyes off the road, accident scenes, and especially, cell phones. Rubbernecking is a major cause of accidents. Around 16% of all car accidents are caused by rubbernecking near-collisions in traffic jams. The following are the most common causes of rubbernecking:

  • Distracted driving: When a distracted driver takes their eyes off the road for a couple of seconds, this is the same as driving the length of a playground with a blindfold on. It also makes it difficult to pay attention to blindspots.
  • Rear-end collisions: In slow traffic, there is normally a short distance between cars. If you or another driver is not attentive, it can result in a rear-end collision.
  • Opposite lane crashes: When drivers look over a crash accident and it is away from their lane.
  • Sideswipes: when they look away from the road and maneuver into the other lane.

What Are The Common Injuries in Rubbernecking Accidents?

In Nevada, rubbernecking accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries. The most common injuries resulting from rubbernecking include:

If you or a loved one has been a victim of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence you might be able to seek compensation. The expert car accident attorneys at Cogburn Law are ready to help.

Who is Responsible In a Rubbernecking Accident?

Rubbernecking may seem harmless but it can put a lot of people at risk, including first responders, drivers, and passengers. Rubbernecking is a form of distracted driving that can really endanger the safety of others. When a driver takes time to look at another accident, they can unexpectedly slow down traffic, they may miss traffic signals, creating hazards that other people are not prepared to handle. When a driver’s behavior causes an accident, they can be held responsible for the damages and injuries that occur.

A driver who gets distracted by a collision can be considered negligent in court. Negligence is on the table when a defendant breaches their duty to act in a reasonable way given the situation and causes someone else’s injuries and damages.

How Do I Prove Negligence?

A driver is expected to keep their eyes on the road and drive safely avoiding being a risk to others. A driver who misses a light, or slows down due to distraction and causes a crash, will be likely found guilty. An injured plaintiff may be awarded compensation for their pain and suffering, property damage, loss of wages, and medical costs.

If more than one party was negligent and caused the accident, the compensation may be distributed according to each party’s degree of fault. In addition, rubbernecking accident victims have two years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury claim.

In these lawsuits, time is very important given that you must collect evidence, contact witnesses, and compile expert testimony to determine the factors that caused your accident.

How Can I Stop Being Distracted?

We understand that it can be difficult to remain focused for long journeys. However, there are some things you can do to avoid becoming distracted, especially when there is an accident close by. These include:

  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times when driving
  • Use your defensive skills to stay aware of your surroundings as you get close to a car accident scene
  • Reduce your speed and use turn signals when passing an accident
  • If traffic slows down because of the car accident, make sure you maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you
  • Pay attention to the driver behind you since they may not be paying attention to the road
  • Be ready to pump your breaks if needed

What Should I Do If I See A Car Accident Right In Front Of Me?

If you see two cars crashing in front of you, or if you see a car crossing multiple lanes and crash into something or catch fire suddenly, slowly move and safely pass the accident, pull over, and call 911.

It might not feel right to not help immediately, but there’s a reason why. You can’t have first responders having to deal with your injuries and the other person’s injuries as well. You need to get to a safe place first and then call for help.

Accident Lawyers In Nevada You Can Trust

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident that occurred by a driver who was rubbernecking, Cogburn Law wants to help you. Our experienced Nevada car accident attorneys represent clients in the Las Vegas and Henderson areas. Please call (702) 748-7777 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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I wanted to wait until my case ended before writing this review. I can’t speak highly enough of the people at Cogburn Law. I unfortunately was in an accident involving another car last September while on vacation. I didn’t really know what to do but I found their listing online. Jamie and Alex talked me through the entire process and looked after all of my medical worries while they fought the insurance company. Never for one moment was I worried that they wouldn’t be successful with my case. I had access to them whenever I had questions and I never felt like I was being a nuisance. It took a few months but I finally got a settlement that has allowed me to move on with my life. Thanks guys, I’m thrilled that you were the ones that looked after me!


Ned W.

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