To detest gawpers.

(57 Posts)
MrsLouisTheroux Fri 30-Aug-13 15:26:13

We were in a queue of traffic because a man had been hit by a vehicle. He was lying on the road and had lost some of his clothes. The ambulance/ police arrived as we were sitting in our car.
I was horrified that so many people in front of our car got out of their car to have a good old look. We could just see the man from our car behind theirs ( he was being attended to by others) and it was clear and obvious that there had been an accident.
The number of rubber neckers who got out of cars/ opened doors/ leaned out of windows to get a better view was unbelievable. They didn't go to help, they were gawping.
The cars started to move and the one in front of us actually stopped alongside the man to have an even better look. WTF?
AIBU? Am I the only one to think that this is awful? The people driving in front of me seemed to think it was ok angry

YouTheCat Fri 30-Aug-13 15:42:10

It is dreadful.

Plus these are the stupid twats who cause further accidents by not paying attention to driving and also cause massive and, mainly unnecessary, tail backs.

YANBU. I think it's not unusual to wonder as such, but to stop, look etc; is dreadful?

SoleSource Fri 30-Aug-13 15:47:09

There is the possibility that the drivers might know a person with the same model of car and colour and are worried it could be him/her.


UriGeller Fri 30-Aug-13 15:49:57

No, YANBU. I can't look and I do judge people who have to gawp.

I think its shameful and shows a lack of compassion for the dignity of the injured person.

MaxPepsi Fri 30-Aug-13 15:58:17

I look, so does my DH.

But then I'm a trained first aider and DH is a fireman. He has pulled over before now to offer assistance in an off duty capacity. I have stopped at a scene of an accident to offer support and to help with traffic.

You would think we are rubber neckers however as most of the time we don't need to offer our help.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 30-Aug-13 15:58:32

I would hate the thought of being in that situation and having people watching sad sad

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 30-Aug-13 16:02:03

Max I doubt very much that the 10 or so cars in front of me yesterday had emergency service personnel as passengers grin

thebody Fri 30-Aug-13 16:02:43

it's human nature and most people are looking in compassion.

however I would like to rip the head off the person who photographed my bleeding and distressed dd ( 12)following an accident and the picture was published with her face in full view without our consent on the front of one of our daily news papers. the vile one.

they have paid for that mistake though.😡

MaxPepsi Fri 30-Aug-13 16:05:14

You'd me amazed how many off duty firemen there are at any one time Mrs L grin

MaxPepsi Fri 30-Aug-13 16:05:30


dimdommilpot Fri 30-Aug-13 16:09:43

YANBU. There was a murder near my house last week and the police are still on scene, the amount of times i have to break suddenly because the car in front has realised it was 'that place on the news' and stop to have a look is unbelievable. Its a narrow road with a blind junction and people are causing mayhem just to have a nosey at this poor blokes hoise.

dimdommilpot Fri 30-Aug-13 16:10:38


NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 30-Aug-13 16:10:58

Looking in compassion what a crock! They are curious! They're also a bit sick...OP yanbu. I wish people would have more decency.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 30-Aug-13 16:36:18

It is morbid curiosity neo hmm TV is full of documentaries/ programmes aimed at those who like a good look. I imagine that the TV producers have the consent of people involved most of the time.
Not the same on the news and in papers as you found out the body angry.

thebody Fri 30-Aug-13 16:53:30

yes agree MrsLT dds school had reporters swarming around the gates for a week offering cash to pupils to talk about the injured girls and their teacher who died.

Neo, to be honest we found in our experience people were lovely and wanted to help.

at the scene we were told numerous cars and coaches stopped to offer help and support.

you will always get people who don't give a crap but that's not the vast majority in our experience.

pianodoodle Fri 30-Aug-13 16:59:38

If they can genuinely help then fine but I'd rather get out of the way and make room if I couldn't do anything (or drive past) than be a slack jawed gawker sad

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 30-Aug-13 17:03:34

Gawpers must be HARD too. The few times I have inadvertently seen an accident, I have been very upset...don't they have feelings ffs? I looked away very quickly...even an old lady falling over upsets me badly!

ShatnersBassoon Fri 30-Aug-13 17:07:39

YANBU, what purpose do they think they're serving by getting a better look? They can't actually enjoy seeing injured people, they're not volunteering to help, they're certainly not trying to prevent further accidents.

On a much smaller scale, my youngest was sick suddenly and with absolutely no warning on the pavement outside a busy cafe at a tourist attraction earlier in the week. The number of people who just stopped, stared and pulled faces was horrible, and nobody even offered a tissue or asked if there was something they could do to help. They seemed to want to feel disgusted by watching a child vomit up their mother's legs confused

perplexedpirate Fri 30-Aug-13 17:25:10

I saw a bad accident once from a motorway bridge (car had missed turning and attempted to go at last minute, hit verge at speed and flipped completely over).
I have never seen anything like it and I was hysterical. Phoned police and ambulance, obviously, and then stayed watching. I tried to get down the verge but couldn't, partially because my legs were like jelly but I stayed because I was desperate for the passenger get out and be ok. The ambulance was very quick and took them away, and I tried to find out what happened later, but couldn't. I so, so, hope they were all right.
It haunts me to this day.
So you would probably have thought I was a rubber-necking ghoul with no thought for the injured.
Nothing could have been further from the truth, but thanks. hmm

ClangerOnaComeDown Fri 30-Aug-13 17:35:03

They are not gawpers they are what we call the oh my god squad they are annoying, get in the way and cause no end if nuisances and annoyances.

CrispyFB Fri 30-Aug-13 17:48:41

Totally YANBU. Obviously there are exceptions as have been mentioned (those who actually can help, those caught up in the incident themselves in some way, or like perplexedpirate above) but the rest should be ashamed of themselves.

I try and look the other way if I can because I feel so bad for those involved.. plus you can't "unsee" anything you might see. I have zero skills that might be of use so unless it's a major incident where any hand will be useful, there is nothing I could do except get in the way and/or slow down traffic.

I still feel angry at the minorish accident we had about 9 years ago. We had to stand on the verge waiting for $stuff and it seemed most cars slowed down to gawp at us. We weren't injured (aside from the whiplash which has been the bane of my life ever since..) just something to stare at. I am really quite shy and lacking in confidence and it really made a bad situation that much more panic-inducing as I had nowhere to run away and hide and not be on display.

BuskersCat Fri 30-Aug-13 17:50:09

If I'm in a total standstil with no sign of moving soon I turn off my engine and get out. Not to look, but because I like a good stretch

ClaireCharlie Fri 30-Aug-13 17:52:50

I've driven by quite a few accidents and it is just human nature to look. But I would never stop or slow down my car to get a better look and I certainly would never get out of my car (unless I was actually going to help)

I had an accident not too long back. My car was smashed up and I was waiting on the pavement for the breakdown truck and the amount of people open mouthed staring just stood staring made the situation 100x worse.

Sparrowfarts Fri 30-Aug-13 18:09:37

If you're not a paramedic or an off-duty firefighter and are unable to help, your duty is to keep well out out of thecway of those who are assisting and not cannon

YANBU. I find it ridiculous when I'm in traffic and it's chocka, you wait 20 minutes to move a few hundred yards and then you get through to a clear road, all that traffic because people are stopping to get an eyeful!

I remember being stuck in traffic like that not long ago on the A27 driving home from work. There was one of those portable signs up saying that the road merged into one lane and that there was an incident. Got stuck in it for ages as people were actually stopping and blocking the road to try and see the 'incident', there was no incident they'd just used the wrong bloody sign and it was scheduled roadworks which I sailed through the next day when they'd corrected it!

perplexed that's a different situation though, it's not the "I've turned up five minutes later and want a peek" that is what most people do as they drive past accidents.

Sparrowfarts Fri 30-Aug-13 18:13:42

Bugger, not cannon into the car in front because you're not concentrating on the road.

We lived over the road from the scene of a notorious murder years ago and the increase in traffic for weeks after (slowing right down in front of the house opposite) in our quiet street was phenomenal. No idea what they expectd to see.

yellowballoons Fri 30-Aug-13 18:21:45

I have seen this happen too. To my family, though thankfully it wasnt an accident.
I was amazed at the gawpers, who just stood there watching, bold as brass. Some did a brief look and walk on, fair enough. But I didnt realise till then, the sheer number of people who are quite happy to stand and stare. For quite some time too.

OxfordBags Fri 30-Aug-13 18:26:23

I was on a bus once when a man on the pavement started fitting and fell in front of the bus, and it hit him hard, then went over him. Probably half the passengers were arguing with the driver to be let off the bus to go and have a look. It was quite obvious that it was going to be horrific - there was blood and... stuff on the windscreen - and yet they were gagging to check his body out. I was absolutely sickened, it was like the accident was a trigger for them to drop their mask of decency and normality and act like zombies clamouring for at least the sight of gore.

The poor man had indeed died, I found out later.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 30-Aug-13 19:09:43

perplex your situation couldn't be more different to the one I described so I honestly do not know what the sarcastic 'thanks' was for.

oldgrandmama Fri 30-Aug-13 19:19:46

I was in a supermarket last year when a tiny baby suddenly stopped breathing. As I went past on my way out, I checked that an ambulance had been called - it had, but meanwhile the frantic mother and several supermarket staff were doing CPR on the baby. I was appalled to see a woman standing nearby, avidly FILMING the emergency on her mobile phone! I felt like hitting her!

BTY, I checked later and the baby was resuscitated, had a stay in hospital and was OK.

Fakebook Fri 30-Aug-13 19:20:34

I find it irritating too, but I think it's kind of a natural reaction wanting to see what's happened. I know I always get an eyeful when I drive past a road accident.

The worse I've heard about is when a few months ago my husband was walking through town to get to work and we have a tall tower in the city centre that's a tourist attraction. The roads had all been blocked off because someone had jumped from the top of the tower. According to DH, people were standing near the edge of the police tape and were making videos and taking pics of the man dying on the floor as the paramedics were attending him. Horrible. Poor man died later in hospital. I have no idea what those people did with the pictures and videos. Why would you do that?

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 30-Aug-13 19:38:07

I live near the town where a young pregnant mum killed her three small children and then threw herself off a multi-storey car park. I happened to drive through a few days after it happened and the main road takes you back through the town past the car park and then right past her house. The huge mound of flowers and teddy bears and clouds of balloons was hard to avoid but I felt awful just seeing it. I didn't want to look but it was right in front of me, and to think what it represented, well it made me cry in the car. sad

It's human nature to look and see what's happened. That's why we have newspapers and news programmes to tell us what's happened. It's not nice to treat it like some form of entertainment though.

Scrabbleyurt Fri 30-Aug-13 19:46:15

Don't you think that in most cases, people are thinking 'I hope no one is badly hurt' and actually looking for some reassurance in some way that those involved are ok?

If I see an accident, it always makes my blood run cold and I might look hoping to see people sitting up, being cared for. If I thought someone may have been badly hurt but didn't look or know, it would be on my mind for a while. Wondering and hoping they were ok. Don't most people worry for the safety of others in an accident, even if they are strangers?

UriGeller Fri 30-Aug-13 19:50:09

Some people just want a bit of it, don't they?
A story to tell. To say, "I was there"

It's weird and horrible and I don't get it at all.

Oh gawkers are a way of life to me, people stare at the strangest things. I stayed at a hotel recently and had a conversation with dd which went like this about a family who were having a good old stare at my ds who's severely Autistic, not only did they put me right off my sausages they made us all feel uncomfortable (( well three of us, ds s oblivious ))

DD>> what are you doing mum ??

ME>> << fixing gawkers with Paddington bear stare >> I'm watching those people THERE << pointing my pointy finger at gawkers>> and i'm wondering if they're from a different planet dd since they don't seem to have come across the likes of your brother before.

GAWKERS >> shock carry on gormlessly gawking.

I may have been a wee bit out of order but when youre getting stared at across the breakfast table, not just by 2 kids but buy their thick twat of a mother too for the major crime of being in public with someone who is just a bit different from everyone else it gets annoying. I'm not over sensitive at all, and 99% of the time don't even notice. I was more annoyed because he was being very well behaved, just very proud of himself and letting me know in his noisy, clumsy, galumphing way he'd managed to use the toaster.

His disability is obvious, he's a 5ft 6 12 year old yet verbally he's a toddler, why people feel the need to stare open mouthed at times is beyond me.

They did it on the 2nd day too, I went over in the end, tapped the mother on the shoulder and asked if her dds maybe attended the same SN school as my boy because they kept looking over, and did they know us from somewhere ?? She did at least have the grace to look shamefaced and hiss at her dds after that but should have known better.

Will say again,I don't have a chip on my shoulder at all, my view is people will look etc but that slack jawed gawking really pissed me off !!

thebody Fri 30-Aug-13 20:57:09

well the only trouble we had was from the press and paparazzi the general public were fantastic. just our experience.

I've gawped.

It was late at night and I heard an almighty bang from directly outside my front door. A car had swerved suddenly to avoid a parked car and ended up on its side. It was horrific. All the neighbours ran out to help, the rest stood at their doors, some in tears... me included. It was a bad, bad crash. Luckily my neighbour's a paramedic and saved a life that night.

We were 'gawping', talking to eachother and gave our neighbour a big round of applause once the driver had been airlifted to hospital.

I can't imagine not gawping in that scenario, it was directly outside my front door... But to stop in traffic and crane your neck seems very crass. And angry to those who take photos!

saintmerryweather Fri 30-Aug-13 21:54:03

well there was q thread a couple of months back where some sick bitch the op was gawking out of her window, providing updates on mn under the guise of being concerned when the police were in her road. proper curtain twitching she was, and yet people seemed to think that was ok? iirc her neighbour had died and yet she still wasnt ashamed of her behaviour. literally providing live updates

Capitola Fri 30-Aug-13 22:11:32

It's a loathsome thing to do. Shocking that over 2million pounds was spent at the end of last year for screens to deter rubberneckers at the scenes of road accidents.

I also can't get the mawkish flower leavers - invariably for a stranger, often for something that has been in the local news or on TV. With their ersatz emotion - I think it's often just rubbernecking too.

perplexedpirate Sat 31-Aug-13 09:25:35

Well actually, OP, it is similar. There was an accident, I tried to help, couldn't, but stayed 'gawking' anyway.
According to your delightful thread, that makes me detestable, loathsome and 'a sick bitch'.
So that's what the 'thanks' was for. Have a hmm as well.

perplexedpirate Sat 31-Aug-13 09:30:15

Careful kirjava. Concern for your fellow man doesn't go down well, it seems.
I'm actually fucking furious about this thread. It took me ages to drive on a motorway after I saw the accident. Had nightmares, saw the car flipping again and again. And now it seems that people thought I was getting some sick kicks when i was watching for the people involved to be ok. Like I wanted to see that?!
Actually in tears.

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 09:35:19

perplexedpirate. In your case it was fear that made you stay, not rubbernecking.

In my scenario that I described upthread, there was no accident. No one was injured, nothing. Everyone was smiling. It was rubbernecking, pure and simple.

perplexedpirate Sat 31-Aug-13 09:39:47

I know yellow. I really was terrified, and I've overreacted.
It's just horrible knowing that people driving past, without knowing why I was there, may have seen me and thought all the horrible things that people are saying on here.

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 10:22:56

People have short memories. I doubt they remember you.

I think you have a good point though. We dont always know the reasons people do what they do, even though we think we do. iyswim.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sat 31-Aug-13 10:27:41

You see the other side of this is not great either. A friend of ours was the first car to come on the scene of a head on collision. When he went to help a stream of cars pulled up and waited after him politely sitting in their cars. My friend who has minimal first aid training was left giving CPR to a dying man alone and he was petrified. I think he would have liked people to get out of their cars and assess if they should offer help. Not sure what happened to the other driver but the one my friend was with died before the ambulance came.

SilverApples Sat 31-Aug-13 10:32:01

How many current TV programmes are there, based on the idea of gawping at others?

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 10:43:42

True SilverApples. But they either want people to gawp or do not realise they are being gawped at. And either way, they somewhat know what is going to happen. In other words, their free will choice.

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 10:45:49

neunund. sad
My guess is that others didnt think they knew more first aid that your friend. Though I am surprised that none of them even went nearer and supported your friend through his ordeal.

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 10:47:08

I think shock plays a part in these things. Shock can make people literally stay rooted to the spot, as happened to perplexedpirate.

perplexedpirate Sat 31-Aug-13 10:52:19

I'm sure they don't remember me yellow. It was a horrible experience. There was a sign in the car window that I thought I first was a baby on board sign. It wasn't, and it turned out there wasn't a child in the car, thank god, but that was when I started really freaking out.
I was trying to get over the barriers and across the motorway to the car (in retrospect a pretty dim thing to do) but couldn't. sad

perplexedpirate Sat 31-Aug-13 10:57:17

I was definitely in shock. I had to go back to work and they had to put me in the staff room drinking sweet tea. The emergency control staff were lovely. I was trying to describe what happened and was just talking rubbish and they were so nice.
I really feel for people on here who have helped at emergencies, it's really hard, especially afterwards, when you have the adrenalin crash.
And then people want to name call. sad

tallulah Sat 31-Aug-13 10:59:41

In the case of your specific OP no YANBU and I can't see why anyone would want to get out of their car to look at an injured person on the road.

But with big accidents on the motorway, neither DH nor I have ever slowed down deliberately just to look, and if I'm driving I keep my eyes on the road, but surely it's human nature to want to know what has happened? If I'm a passenger I will look to see if I can work out what happened - oh it looks like the red car was hit in the side and the blue car is damaged at the front - I'm not looking at/ for injured people. We do end up wondering how on earth did that happen as we drive on.

Plus there's that concern of "it's a blue Honda - is it my mum's car" sometimes.

I agree it's sick to be videoing and taking photos. Why would you do that?

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 11:17:03

I dont look. Partly because I am a bit suqeamish, and partly because I always think, if that was me lying on the road, I would most certainly not want people trying to crane their necks to get a good look.

perplexedpirate Sat 31-Aug-13 18:24:07

I can't stop thinking about this thread. It's really upset me.
I'm also reminded of the time my brother was following a friend up the motorway, passed an accident, 'gawked' and saw that it was her. He pulled in and was able to talk to her to keep her conscious as they cut her out of the wreck.
Please think about other people's situations before throwing such horrible insults around. I don't think I or my brother deserve them. sad

I think the emergency services should carry those big green screens they use at racecourses when horses have an accident. They roll up quite tidily and it would give the people involved privacy and hopefully stop "rubberneckers" causing an accident as they trundle by looking at what's happened.

saintmerryweather Sun 01-Sep-13 01:04:34

i wasnt calling you a sick bitch pirate and im sorry if i have upset you. your situation is obviously much different from the person i was talking about. you werent filming, taking pictures or posting live updates to an internet forum, you were at the scene, trying to help and found yourself unable to. i think.there may well be people in your situation at accident scenes, which is absolutely understandable. if i came across an accident i.wouldnt have a clue what to do, having no first aid training at all so i would probably still be standing there waiting to see if there was anything i.could do to help.

again thats much different from analysing a crash scene as you drive past, helping to cause tailbacks so you can try out what has happened

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