What’s rubber neck?

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Rubbernecking, the act of slowing down to observe an accident or unusual sight, can be dangerous for drivers and cause traffic snarls. It is a natural human reaction, but studies show it can lead to a loss of attention and subsequent accidents.

Before the opening scene of a car accident is cleared, a second potentially dangerous phenomenon known as strangulation often occurs. Passing motorists slow down considerably to observe the aftermath of the accident, or curious observers crowd around the site. Rubber necking can be a very dangerous practice, especially for other drivers who must negotiate both the original accident scene and the traffic snarl created by onlookers. Emergency officials at an accident often try to discourage the bottleneck by forcing drivers to keep moving.

It’s part of human nature to be curious when seeing something extreme or unusual, which makes some aspects of the bottleneck very understandable. Tourists visiting the sites of a big city for the first time often spend most of their time, completely overwhelmed by the new and unusual sights around them. Some sources even say that the term “strangle” may have started in the early 20th century, as tourists riding in special tour carriages around New York City raised their heads to gaze down 44th Avenue. Local New Yorkers once they named that area of ​​Manhattan “Rubberneck Road.”

Rubber necking is also a common practice in bars popular with singles. The song “Rubberneckin’,” released posthumously by Elvis Presley, details the practice of young men straining their necks and turning their heads to gaze at all the beautiful women in a club. While this form of strangulation may not be popular with a man’s female partner, it’s still part of human nature to look at anything out of the ordinary, including the sights and sounds of a crowded nightclub.

There have been some studies that seem to connect gum neck with a subsequent loss of attention. This is why an extended rubber neck when passing through an accident scene could be dangerous to your health. One study showed that participants failed to register a target image that immediately followed a graphically violent or sexual image. In a real world application, a rubber-necked driver who sees a violent car crash may not recover in time to recognize a changing traffic light or car’s brake lights. Rubber necking is a natural reaction for many people, but drivers must learn to keep their attention on the road and avoid becoming a new danger to other drivers.

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