‘Rubbernecking’ a major cause of vehicle accidents in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — We’ve all seen it happen. There’s an accident on the road and you feel the urge to take a closer look.

State officials say it is dangerous and can cause even bigger issues than the original crash.

“Anytime you see a crash, you see people watching the crash,” Brandy Brubaker, with Virginia DMV said.

It may be a minor fender bender, but it could lead to an even bigger accident, or what officials call a secondary crash if those involved and passersby don’t do the right thing.

“It’s just a natural thing for humans to want to look and see what’s going on, but when you are driving, you have to give your 100 percent to the road,” Brubaker said.

In fact, a bill went into effect this July requiring drivers to move out of the way and to the side of the road if they’re able to after a crash has happened.

The rule is called the Move It Law and it’s aimed at keeping traffic moving after an accident has occurred.

State Police urged drivers to keep it moving, saying there were 788 secondary crashes on the road last year in Virginia.

“It just enables the traffic to keep going and prevents other types of crashes because people don’t see the crash in time and don’t stop,” Brubaker said.

But DMV says things are improving. The agency says the state has seen a 12 percent decrease in secondary crashes so far this year. Officials say when you see an accident, keep your eyes on the road instead of the crash.

“If you look away for even a second, that could be enough time for you to get into a crash yourself,” Brubaker said.

Now, if you’re injured or your car is having trouble moving, you aren’t required to get out of the way.

Only do so if you and your passengers are o.k. and the car can be moved.

Click here to download the new-and-improved 8News App

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.