Rubbernecking

Rubberneckers are the worst. These nosy scumbags are the reason for most unnecessary traffic jams. If people could just mind their own beeswax and not stare at an incident that has nothing to do with them, then we could all get to where we are going.

But rubberneckers don’t do that. They slow down to gawk at the accident before they move on. And we bitch them out for being stupid idiots who don’t know enough to keep moving so we can all get to our place of destination. We rage against the machine that if everyone was as smart as we are then we wouldn’t be in this slow-ass traffic crawl to begin with.

Then we slow down and look at the accident ourselves.

Everyone hates a rubbernecker but none of us can admit to being one. We all slow down to look at an accident, yet we all complain about the people who slow down to look at an accident. It really is true that the thing you hate most about people tends to be the thing you actually are.

We get so mad at people for wasting our time with rubbernecking and then we go head and do the same thing, all the while thinking we are being different and rubbernecking the right way. For the record, there is no “right way” to rubberneck. Rubbernecking is rubbernecking. There is no fast way to slow down. You might think you aren’t really slowing down to take a look at a car crash but trust me, you are. Just ask the person in the car behind you.

In defense of rubberneckers (which means I am defending everyone in the world who knows how to drive an automobile), how can you not slow down and look at a car accident as you pass by? It’s impossible to do. Trust me, I’ve tried to look straight ahead after I drive by a car accident. I always end up peeking. That morbid fascination is just too delicious to resist. You want to see how much damage has been done. You want to see the wreckage. You want to witness someone unfortunately experiencing some sort of tragedy so you can take comfort in the fact that, at the very least, you are not them.

Then you drive off – happily.

And that’s really the worst part of rubbernecking that we don’t like to think about – the aftermath. We are so happy after having rubbernecked an accident to know that we no longer have to wait in traffic. Not only has another human being suffered through some sort of awfulness, not only have you rubber-necked that awfulness, but now you are stoked that the traffic has cleared up and you can move along on your merry way. Instead of feeling empathy for our fellow man, we are elated that all four lanes are now open. It’s that kind of douchiness in others that we can’t take in ourselves.

Why can’t we all just admit to being rubberneckers? Is it that embarrassing or insulting? There are worse things to be in life: a snorer, a loud talker, a lover of anything on the E! Channel. Compared to those, being a rubbernecker is nothing. And if you are worried that being a rubbernecker might mean you have a dark and gruesome side to your personality, then I say – congratulations. Welcome to the human race.

You can’t call something a nuisance if you are part of the problem. And since rubbernecking will never go away and has probably been around since the first Model T rammed into another Model T nearly one hundred years ago, then let’s just accept it for what it is. Let’s just all fess up to the fact that all of us are rubberneckers, admit that we are weak, that we can’t help ourselves, and then move on.

(But not before we take a gander at that four-car fender bender that just happened on the overpass.)


Image Credit: 2012-2013 Sedeen, LLC