Vehicle crashes can lead to some serious traffic tie-ups, but a lot of the problem isn’t from the crash itself but from rubberneckers. People just can’t seem to look away from crushed metal and mayhem. The gawkers slow down and that causes more people to slow down so they take a look and slow down even more and so on and so on. A solution seems to be proving successful in Britain and it’s keeping traffic flowing smoothly.

They are called incident screens.  The screens are set up around a crash site blocking the view to passing motorists. A study of the screens effectiveness showed they drastically reduced the length of drivers’ glances by about three times.  England began using the screens in 2012. They made available 150 sets of screens with each set having 30 screens. The total cost was 2.3 million pounds. A few years later the government of Wales approved the use of screens along one of their major highways.

The plan also aims to make areas around crashes safer as sudden stopping or slowing down can lead to more crashes for people not expecting it. Distractions as rubberneckers take their eyes off the road to take a peek at what’s going on also lead to dangerous circumstances for the medical responders who are trying to help potential victims.

It’s not a catch-all solution as it does have its drawbacks. The screens have to be brought to the scene quickly which can be trouble when traffic is already bad. The screens need to be attached to barriers which vary in size so it can be tough to get the right distance around the crash scene. Wind can also cause havoc. But for the most part they have worked and it has reduced the risk of more collisions and kept traffic moving past collisions without much disruption.