Thursday, 27 December 2012

force majeure

The BBC reports on a project underway along UK roads that aims to deploy privacy screens to erect around the scene of traffic accidents, so rubberneckers (Gaffern) in the oncoming lane will not slow to get a glimpse of the wreckage and response.

It’s a terrible outlet of human curiosity that makes such drapes possibly worth the try, and I have seen congestion and jams (Stau) spill over into the opposite lane on the Autobahn for no other reason than drivers braking to gawk. Such empathy and antipathy are encouraged all the time, with greater and lesser risks to others involved, but it really becomes quite a horrific snarl when car wrecks become a sideshow, without prospects for help and does not seem to encourage greater caution. I only hope the scrim does not delay response further or erode the last vestiges of driver sympathy—or replace safety and courtesy with a sense of self-preservation in this censorship. No journey should be filled with carnage but motorists should also not be allowed to strip the stomach-churning feelings of disappointment and regret for trying to get a peek. The screens, I don’t think, are able to speed up care on their side of the island, after all.