How Dangerous is Sneezing While Driving?
We’ve all been there—you are right in the middle of rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon, the sun is in your eyes and you feel a sneeze coming on. According to some research, more than two million drivers
have crashed because of a sneeze while they were driving, and at least a third of adults believe driving is the worst time to sneeze. In fact, sneezing can have disastrous, or even fatal consequences when it happens to a driver. A 79-year old Australian woman died in 2014 after a sneeze caused her to jerk the wheel of her car, causing a rollover. A school teacher in Missouri lost control of her car in 2012 after a sneeze, running into another driver, who lost her life in the accident.
Sneezes can be violent, causing the person who is sneezing to close their eyes temporarily. A series of sneezes can increase the time the driver’s eyes are closed. In fact, it is estimated that a violent sneeze while driving 60 miles per hour can cause the driver to close their eyes for 1-5 seconds, traveling anywhere from fifty to 250 feet with eyes closed. While we may do our best to suppress a sneeze at crucial moments (while eating, during sex, in a meeting at work or while applying makeup all make the top of the list), doing so is virtually impossible for most. Only a paltry 11 percent of us consider our sneezes “dainty,” or even “cute,” and when they occur as we are driving, they can lead to a serious accident.
Further Reading: Five States with the Most Careless Drivers: Where Does Colorado Rank?
Lessening the Chances of an Accident When You Sneeze While Driving
Admittedly, most sneezes take us by surprise, so pulling over when you feel a sneeze coming on is hardly feasible in most cases. There are certain steps, however, which can lessen the chances of your sneezing while driving. Wear sunglasses when driving in order to limit your exposure to bright sunlight. If you are prone to allergies, take an allergy medication during times you would typically be sneezing. In general, there is more pollen in the air first thing in the morning, so whenever possible, time driving accordingly. One more thing—while tailgating is never a good idea, it is always a good idea to leave plenty of room between yourself and the person in front of you if you have any idea you could potentially sneeze while driving. This simple act could prevent you from rear-ending the driver in front of you in the event of a sneeze.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving
While sneezes are involuntary, there are many equally or more dangerous actions drivers engage in on a daily basis. Distracted driving is fast becoming the number one cause of auto collisions
, yet Americans continue to use their cars as offices, kitchens, or as a time to catch up socially. Texting, talking on a cell phone (even a hands-free device), eating, drinking, paying more attention to the GPS than to the road, changing radio stations, inserting a CD, fiddling with your MP3 player, turning around to scold the children in the back seat or pick up a dropped toy, talking to a passenger—all of these are dangerous examples of distracted driving which can lead to a serious or fatal auto accident.
The Dangers of Texting and Driving
Texting, in particular, can cause the driver to take his or her eyes off the road for as long as five to six seconds, meaning the car could travel the length of a football field with the driver’s eyes off the road. Although teens may be the biggest offenders for texting and driving, recent research shows they may see these behaviors modeled by their parents. While most parents freely admit how dangerous texting and driving is, a significant percentage also admit to engaging in the behavior as often as once every time they drive. The best way to avoid an accident is to keep your eyes, hands and your mind on your driving, and hope others are doing the same.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, or anywhere in the state of Colorado, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Denver car accident attorney. Contact the Denver Law Firm of John R. Fuller, P.C.
today at 303-597-4500
for a free initial consultation. Our Denver car accident Boyers ready to help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Our law firm has the experience and the resources needed to take even the most complex personal injury cases to trial – and win.