Why do we want to escape awkward stares at red lights?

Ever stopped at a traffic light, realized you were being stared at by a bystander and rushed through the green light?

KUSA - Ever stopped at a red light, caught the eye of someone standing on a corner and felt so uncomfortable you sped through once the light was green?

9NEWS psychologist Dr. Max said this awkward moment and people’s drastic desire to escape from it to it has been observed and studied by researchers.

“It’s been scientifically proven we are freaking these people out right now,” Dr. Max said as he and Steve Staeger stared at people stopped by the traffic light near the 9NEWS station, all in the name of science of course.

And just why do we get this feeling?

Part of it may be that though driving your car is a public act, the car itself can still feel a very private place. It’s just you, maybe a couple of friends and family, in a familiar, enclosed space.

“It’s weird,” Dr. Max said. “It feels uncomfortable and awkward, and you just want to escape that as quickly as you possibly can.”

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© 2017 KUSA-TV


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