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A different kind of distracted driving: rubbernecking

We all know that distracted driving is a dangerous phenomenon that causes a significant number of accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hundreds of thousands of people are injured every year in accidents involving distracted driving.

When we think of distracted driving, we imagine people talking, texting and using social media on their smartphones. While smartphones are a huge problem, it is by no means the only form of distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that occupies a driver’s hands, eyes or mind. One such distraction is rubbernecking, or slowing down or stopping to look at emergencies.

Emergencies can compound when too many people gather

Flashing lights should not be ignored. However, when there is an emergency on the road, it is important that people do not cause obstacles for other motorists and pedestrians. If there is an emergency and police or an ambulance is behind you, pull over slowly to the side of the road. Use turn signals when pulling over and when resuming your journey. Not only is this safer, it is the law in Texas that drivers must pull over to the side of the road for emergency vehicles.

If there is an accident in front of you, it is important to pay attention to any obstacles. However, slowing down to look at an accident, while human nature, can also lead to dangerous situations. Keep your eyes on the road in front of you rather than looking at the scene of the accident. If the emergency is on the side of the road, do not pull over or get out of your vehicle. Let the first responders handle the situation. Even if you are only looking, stopping or gathering in groups can delay first responders at a time when quick action may be needed to save lives.

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Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC
7322 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2010
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Houston, TX 77074

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