It's like one of those horrendous pile-ups on the motorway. Britain, after sticking with sterling, can't help but rubberneck as the financial crises around the euro zone pile up.
First Greece, now Ireland. Who will go into the back of the ambulance next? Portugal, Spain, Italy are careering down the track.
Last week was one of the worst on record for the euro. The markets did not like the £72 billion (Dh416.45bn) bailout agreed for Ireland and the single currency plunged to new lows against the dollar amid fears that other countries would have to be rescued.
Portugal is widely expected to tap the rescue fund, and many economists fear that Spain will be next in line. However, it is not clear that the existing package has enough capacity to support Spain's borrowing needs. And as more countries draw on the emergency fund, fewer euro-zone countries will be capable of underwriting it.
Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, has said the euro zone is "in a survival crisis". There has been talk of Ireland joining sterling and speculation, unthinkable even six months ago, that the Germans would desert the single currency.
Last week, hedge fund managers meeting in New York were almost entirely sceptical that the euro had a future. For Britain's Conservative Party, which has long campaigned against greater political and monetary union with Europe, this is a moment to savour. But their leaders cannot admit what the rank and file is thinking.
Wearing the weight of chancellor of the exchequer with some grace, George Osborne has said categorically: "I told you so is not much of an economic policy."
The Irish financial crisis is close to home, too close for comfort. As David Cameron, the prime minister, has repeatedly observed, the UK does more trade with Ireland than it does with those world dynamos Brazil, Russia, India and China.
But during the past 15 years, the Celtic Tiger had turned into something unrecognisable to many Brits. We may have been in the middle of our own housing bubble, but it was still a puzzle how a three-bedroom bungalow on the damp Dublin coast could be worth £600,000, despite the palm tree in the garden. For generations, we have thought of our Irish cousins as romantics - poets, writers, musicians. Overnight they turned into multilingual captains of industry, turning their backs on London and looking ambitiously towards the US and the mighty dollar.
And while many thought we had lurched into the slow lane of Europe, missing out on oodles of "free" money and ultra-low interest rates, it turns out it was the right economic policy.
But the single currency is so much more than a convenient way to save on the cost of buying local coins, as you rush from one long weekend destination to another.
Britain can survive outside the euro zone but the collapse of economies within it, such as Spain, would set our own recovery back years. Our standing as one of the world's largest economies owes much to our position on the edge of the world's biggest single trading bloc.
Those who write the euro off are underestimating the enormity of the political will behind the project, now in its 11th year.
David Serra, the managing partner of Algebris Investments, a hedge fund based in London, told a New York audience last week the euro zone would emerge from the crisis intact and the economic health of the trading bloc was far better than was generally assumed in the US.
He pointed out that while people are calling Portugal a basket case, it has two very big strengths: access to Angola, its former colony's natural resources, and its ties with Brazil.
He also said Americans in particular misunderstood the images of riots they had seen in certain European cities. In Europe, he said, it is normal to protest but no one gets killed. Also, no one should underestimate the determination of Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, who managed to rally markets last week when he outlined the authorities' determination to defend the euro and drove that message home by sharply increasing the bank's purchase of peripheral government bonds.
A full-blown collapse of the single currency is not in anyone's interest. This may not be a problem for our currency, but it is just as much our problem - as George Osborne has recognised.