Most of us have done it. Young and old drivers are guilty. It is likely that we all have a sneeze at some time while at the wheel. When navigating, crossing intersections, changing lanes and otherwise minding our business as we drive, the needle can be dragged at any time. Once the crack is panicked, as the realization is determined in that sneeze it can cause an accident.
Most drivers make it through a sneeze while the driver is unworthy. But some get into accidents caused by this uncontrollable and unpredictable reflex. The dangers of sneezing while driving can be frightening.
Sneezing after wheel statistics
Little research has been done on the subject of sneezing while driving in the US, but British researchers have paid attention and recorded some extraordinary statistics.
- According to a study conducted by English cold medicine and Olbas Max Strength flu, over two million car accidents are caused by sneezing.
- British car repair company Halfords Autocentres reported that 2.6 million drivers in the UK admitted they were turning their eyes off the road due to symptoms of colds or flu. Halfords also blamed 2,500 accidents each week on British winters in these myriad cold and flu conditions. Sneezes, of course, are the culprits likely to blame on these flu-generated wrecks.
In the United States, the National Security Council (NSC) is clear that diverted direction is very deadly. That organization reports 1.6 million car accidents are caused by distracted driving each year, specifically blaming the driver's use of a cell phone or text while driving. But the NSC has not provided statistics on sneezing and driving.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that the confused movement of any type of vehicle can be categorized under one or more of these three types:
- Visual – eyes lift off the road while driving
- Manual – hands are removed from the wheel while the vehicle is moving
- Cognitive – the driver's mind is not focused on vehicle operation and driving safety
It is clear that sneezing while driving can fall under all three of those categories at once. Beyond distraction, a particularly strong sneeze can add a strong head kick to the reflex. Drivers are known to hit the head on the steering wheel and other interior surfaces of the car.
According to Halfords, drivers who sneeze behind the wheel as they drive 60 miles per hour can travel 50 meters or more with their eyes completely closed. Sneezes can cause temporary disorientation and flowing eyes in their course, increasing the distance traveled potentially without visual control.
American Road Accidents caused by sneezing while driving
While statistics are easy for this confused driving category in the United States, the results of sneezing while driving are clear. Many car accidents have been reported by police across the country.
- In Missouri in 2012, the death of a single mother was blamed on a school teacher who lost control of her car due to sneezing.
- In New Hartford, New York, a driver left the highway because of sneezing.
- A Massachusetts woman is likely to cause herself to be very scared when she ends up with a state police officer because of sneezing.
- In San Leandro, California, a sneaky truck driver caused an impact with 10 other cars.
- The driver died after a sneezing accident in Salisbury, MD in 2011.
Experts weigh in on the dangers of sneezing as you drive
UK police officer Steve Rounds said about sneezing while driving, "sneezing can cause the sufferer to temporarily close his eyes." He went on, "Driving a car with severe cold symptoms is certainly irresponsible and an accident leading to death or serious injury can expose the sneezing driver to dangerous driving charges."
A Cantor Crane Phoenix car accident lawyer advises drivers to try to pull over and stop if a sneeze is coming. Your vehicle can be considered a deadly weapon when on the move. This makes it very important to focus on the road when behind the wheel. This means focusing your eyes and mind on the road, with your hands on the wheel. Because studies show that seven percent of sneezing drivers are in accidents due to their cold-related reflex, Crane emphasizes the importance of considering a sneeze as dangerous as other forms of distracted driving. "Your actions can cause injuries and even fatalities. So it's very important to be responsible the next time sneezing comes while you are operating your vehicle."