Peeping TomsOct 4th, 2013 | By Editorial Staff | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog
If the initial “incident” doesn’t get you, the secondary one will, which means we are so eager to learn about the incident that our attention is diverted and our emotions are excited by all the flashing lights. Indeed it is even possible to become mesmerized by those flashing lights, which can have a disorienting effect. In aviation, when a pilot flies through or near a storm, lightning flashes are said to cause “spatial disorientation” which is a fancy term for serious distraction and trouble.
Some jurisdictions now award “bonus” money for quick clearances to restore the normal traffic flow, thus reducing the chance of a secondary incident. I’m aware that some have tried temporary barriers to obstruct our view, however, in my opinion that alone becomes a secondary event, which also results in distraction.
And speaking of distraction, when driving 75 mph on the freeway we are traveling at about 110 feet every second. So how many seconds does it take to divert our attention to an argument in the back seat, or dial a cell phone, or read or send a text message? Since we seem to drive up close and personal NASCAR-style these days, when the guy up front is distracted for just a few seconds, the two dozen following drivers then crash into him and each other.
Now on the subject of flashing emergency lights, and speaking of NASCAR, I like their non-emotional way of displaying a blinking (not flashing) yellow light to “advise” of an eminent slowdown. These bright strobes are great for the TV cameras but are such a distraction that most airliners don’t even use them anymore.
Aside from all of this is our need to be “peeping toms” because we all want to see what the incident’s about and swivel our heads around to get the big picture.
If we just slow down and focus our attention on driving we’ll get the big picture soon enough on the evening news.