Talk:rubbernecking

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Wrong definition?[edit]

I think this is a mistaken meaning of this word. In my mind, and I have had many arguments with my wife about his, rubbernecking refers to stop and go traffic which is so commonly encountered on freeways during congested hours and because of the "rubber in your neck" makes your head fall forward and back with the stop and start of traffic. You don't need a rubber neck to turn your head to the side as it is a motion that is initiated by voluntary muscle contraction rather than by the forces involved in stopping and starting traffic. Tom Dodson —This unsigned comment was added by Dodsontw (talkcontribs) at 19:44, 23 September 2007 (UTC).

Sorry, but I agree with the currently-given sense ("The act of slowing down whilst driving a vehicle on a fast road, so as to look at the scene of an accident"). —RuakhTALK 20:05, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
By the way, I believe the intended image is of someone stretching their neck, as if it were made of rubber, to see what's going on. (You can also speak of someone "craning" their neck, which is a slightly different image — viewing the neck as being long and cranelike rather than short-but-stretchy and rubberlike — but along the same vein.) —RuakhTALK 20:19, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Sorry Tom, but I've never heard of "rubberneck" as a result of traffic (before your theory, above.) That isn't how the term is used. Passing an accident, rubberneckers swivel their heads toward the accident scene in morbid fascination, instead of keeping their eyes on the road as they should. Not only do they slow their vehicles down to do so, they are no longer watching the car in front of them (which may have slowed down more than they did.) When a radio station refers to rubbernecking delays they mean that the highway system, as a whole, has lower throughput due to the reduced speeds at that single point of the highway (due to the morbid, touristy "rubberneckers.") --Connel MacKenzie 21:59, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Is there a word for the type of motion while driving stop and go traffic which throws your head back and forth to the rhythm of the brakes? Dodsontw 02:37, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Nodding? Bobble-heading? I don't know of any specific term for that. Jet pilots and astronauts experience something similar, but I don't know of any of their terminology. (Particularly side-to-side vibrations.) --Connel MacKenzie 02:53, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Should rubbernecking be the act of turning ones head to look at the scene of an accident, rather than the act of slowing down while driving to look at a scene of an accident? Could not a passenger (who is not driving and cannot slow down) rubberneck? Could a pedestrian be a rubbernecker? I think the definition needs to be updated. sewnmouthsecret 17:39, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

These senses are valid, but should already be covered by rubbernecking#Verb, with full treatment at rubberneck. I agree that the current arrangement is less than ideal; perhaps the soft-redirect should be replaced by a full verb-form definition? -- Visviva 00:54, 29 September 2007 (UTC)