Voyeur effect: Take care if you are one of the voyeurs on the road


Published 13/04/2020
efecto miron

The Voyeur effect is one of the most dangerous things on the road, as it can lead to traffic accidents, and quite often, they occur in a chain. I’m sure that at some point you have slowed down when passing a traffic accident to see what was happening, even when the emergency services were already at the scene. Not only can this cause traffic jams, it can also endanger your own safety and that of others.

What is the Voyeur Effect?

The voyeur effect occurs when a driver slows down for no apparent reason. One of the most common causes is trying to get a glimpse of a road accident. In other words, the driver slows down in order to get a look at the accident, leading to traffic jams and delays that are made worse, which is what happens quite often in Spain.

The voyeur effect is also related to the accordion effect. The latter consists of a sudden reduction in speed. If one driver slows down for some reason, the other drivers will also slow down. Therefore, the famous “phantom jams” are created, those that have no apparent cause, but that are brought about simply due to some drivers´ behaviour. Therefore, it is very important to be aware of the road and always keep a safe distance.

Remember the PNA principle

When the emergency services have not yet arrived at the scene of the accident, it should be remembered and stressed that, if there is no medical assistance at the scene, we have the duty to stop and help insofar as possible. How? By carrying out the PNA principle: Protect, Notify and Assist.

  • Protection at the scene of the accident:If you come across an accident, before you do anything, you must secure the area, not only for those involved in the accident, but for yourself too. There are many road accidents that, in turn, lead to new accidents or people being run over.
  • Notify the emergency services:It is as much a logical obligation as it is being prudent. In all cases, it is advisable to call the European service, 112, with a switchboard in Spain. The professionals will coordinate, as quickly as possible, the emergency services that will make their way to the scene. However, don’t get nervous: they will ask you a lot of questions about what you are seeing, they will also ask you about the exact location of the accident.
  • Help the victims: with the area completely secured and after notifying the emergency services, that will make their way quickly to the scene, you must help those who may be injured. We remind you that, not helping people in need of help, in these cases, could lead to a prison sentence. Both the Road Traffic Act and the Criminal Code set forth this obligation. Help as long as you know how to and you are sure about what you are doing. If you know how to give first aid you have already won part of the battle in this tricky situation, which nobody wants to have to go through.

In short, an increasing number of agencies, both emergency and traffic control, are struggling to minimise the impact of the voyeur effect on the country’s roads. This effect, apart from slowing down traffic, can endanger the safety of other drivers. However, if you are forced to stop because of a traffic accident, you are obliged to follow the PNA principle.

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