What type of sneezer are you, and are you safe on the road?

We are driving for seven hours today from Emporia in Virginia, and staying overnight in Kingsland Georgia.

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I’ve been sneezing quite a lot in the car, and this reminded me of something I heard on Sky News a while back. They were running a story about how the British government were advising people not to drive if they had a cold, because of the danger of sneezing. I remember thinking to myself , “There goes the ‘Nanny State ‘ again.” I didn’t get to see the story, which was a pity, because it was probably quite interesting, but I did ask hubby, who sneezes far more than I do, and who also knows the answer to every question I throw at him, “Can you sneeze with your eyes open?” He looked at me as though I’d lost my mind, but after a bit of thought, answered, “No, I don’t think so.” If he’s right, then it’s quite a no-brainer that maybe we shouldn’t be driving and sneezing at the same time. 🙂

I then did a Google search, and found that researchers at Cambridge University in the UK have discovered that blinking when sneezing is a subconscious reaction given by your brain in order to prevent bacteria and debris from making contact with your eyes. Most of us have this eye-closing reflex, and considering that we humans routinely propel ourselves along our roads at high speeds, here’s a sobering thought for the day: Muriel Simmons of the British Allergy Foundation said: “If you sneeze while driving at 70 mph, you will travel 300 feet with your eyes closed.” Wow, doesn’t that thought do something to your sphincters?

Ahh-choo alert. (Photo: Facebook/SneezingWhenDriving)

I was reading an American article by Court Sullivan, staff writer of ‘Points in Case’, stating that according to latest statistics, the cell phone has now been surpassed by a “new #1 cause of traffic accidents: sneezing.” Much of the recent attention to this matter was sparked by a routine traffic accident. An 85-year-old Arizona man was instantly reduced to ten pieces after veering off a steep cliff with no guard rails.

Local police and insurance agents blamed the accident on the man’s lifelong impotence, history of suicide attempts, nasty recent divorce, driving without proper correctional lenses, and talking to a Horoscope line at the time on his cell phone. 😀 The federal government however, had its share of doubts, and forensic experts were able to provide government officials with one crucial discovery: the man had engaged in what is known as a ‘quadruple-sneeze’ just moments before plummeting to his death.” Don’t ask me how they can establish this fact after death. 😕

I have been looking at various sites about sneezing and driving, and it appears that quite a few road accidents have been traced back to sneezing fits. People with a bad case of nasal allergies can have sneezing fits that go on for minutes, and if your eyes are closed whilst this is all going on, the question arises, ” who is watching the road ahead for you?”

I find this all quite worrying, as I’d been thinking that it was only drivers texting and chatting on their cell phones, people eating, drinking and smoking or having heart attacks whilst driving, that I had to be wary of. Now I have to add sneezing to that list. No wonder we often say, “Bless you,” when someone sneezes. We really do need divine protection.

Georgia-based researcher Dr Patti Wood says that you can tell a lot about the type of person you are by the way you sneeze.”Most people have a specific sneezing style that closely matches their personality,” she said.

1. People who trumpet loudly when sneezing tend to be charismatic, influential, and good leaders.

2. Whereas those who make as little noise and fuss as possible are relaxed, calm, loyal, and dependable.

3. People who cover their mouths with tissues tend to be very proper, dignified, and moderate.

4. A fourth type will get the sneeze out of the way as quickly as possible. They tend to be no-nonsense, fast, decisive, and to the point.

What type of sneezer are you? I’m a combination of #2 and #3, depending on whether I can grab a tissue in time or not.

Here are a few interesting facts about sneezing:

Sneezing can be triggered through sudden exposure to bright light, a particularly full stomach, or viral infection.

People sneeze on average 3 times a day.

People sneeze at a stratospheric speed of 650 mph – roughly 85% the speed of sound!

In some Eastern Asia countries such as Japan and Vietnam, it is a cultural belief that if you sneeze, it means somebody is talking behind your back.

Now that I’ve established how dangerous sneezing is, I have to tell you that there is also a danger to you if you suppress a sneeze, Here you will find an interesting article on the subject, by someone called Kate J Chase.

Have a great and sneeze-free day, especially if you’re driving. Chat again soon.