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Serious Interstate Crashes Result in Georgia Rubbernecking Accidents

December 06, 2011

Over the summer two serious car crashes tied up interstates, creating havoc for motorists in the Atlanta area for hours. During the early morning commute, an eight car pile up brought the flow of traffic to a standstill on I-85 southbound at the height of the morning commute.

Four of the five lanes of traffic were blocked while rubbernecking obstructed northbound traffic. The flow of traffic was further brought to a crawl by a tractor-trailer collision that occurred a little later in the morning, blocking all lanes of the I-285 northbound at Cascade Road around 10 a.m.

Serious collisions like multi-car pileups or tractor-trailer accidents pose serious danger of causing further accidents due to obstructed stop-and-go traffic and rubberneckers that are distracted by the obstruction created by accidents. Rubbernecking refers to motorists who “look about, stare, or listen with exaggerated curiosity” according to Webster’s Dictionary. Drivers traveling in the opposite direction from a car accident often slow down, obstructing traffic and causing auto collisions.

Anyone that drives on Georgia interstates or Atlanta streets has experienced the signs of the phenomenon when the traffic ahead slows to a snail’s pace. It may take you an hour to travel a distance that is usually traversed in a matter of a few minutes. While the long, unnecessary traffic delays caused by rubbernecking in Atlanta are frustrating, this aggravation pales in comparison to the stress and frustration when a vehicle rear-ends your vehicle slamming into you from behind, or you collide with a vehicle in front of you because you are distracted by the collision that is slowing the flow of traffic.

A study conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Transportation Safety Training Center (TSTC) identified rubbernecking as one of the leading causes of car accidents caused by distracted drivers. The study found that the accidents were not caused by scenery, billboards or similar landmarks on the side of the road but were caused by car wrecks and other roadside traffic incidents. Rubbernecking was found to account for 35 percent of all car accidents caused by driving distractions. Sixteen percent of collisions caused by rubbernecking were directly related to car accidents and other traffic-related incidents. Rubbernecking results in a virtually perfect storm of accident hazards by slowing the flow of traffic and creating congestion while decreasing driver attention which is focused on roadway driving distractions. The most common causes of rubbernecking include:

  • Car crashes
  • Stalled, disabled or abandoned motor vehicles
  • Debris in the road or adjacent to the roadway
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Bridge incidents

While there is not a system in place to prevent rubbernecking in the U.S., Great Britain has employed a solution to rubbernecking in the vicinity of car accidents. They employ a system that involves screens that can be quickly used to block vision of the accident. The screens can be erected in a matter of a few minutes with nominal expense. The hope is that these barriers will keep drivers from slowing down to gawk because there is nothing to observe. While some critics point out that drivers may slow down to rubberneck at a massive barrier designed to block the view of an accident, it would seem the novelty of rubbernecking at such a barrier would wear off rapidly.

At the Georgia car accident law firm of Montlick and Associates, we have been representing car accident victims for over 38 years including those injured in Atlanta rubbernecking car collisions. Our Atlanta rubbernecking auto accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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