The worst thing that can happen to a motorist is a severe accident, as a result of which there are victims. But this is not the only danger for a person behind the wheel. MedAboutMe found out what factors act on the driver and passengers and increase the risk of accidents and other health hazards?
Driver and smartphone
Sending or receiving a text message has been proven to distract the driver for at least 4 seconds. This is enough for a car to cover a distance equal to the length of a football field at a speed of 80-90 km / h. The chances of an emergency stop in the event of an emergency are minimal.
Other distractions that can play a fatal role include controlling music, talking to passengers, switching attention to GPS devices, and eating. Even your own thoughts and negative emotions can significantly reduce the driver’s attention to the road. According to American statistics, half of all accidents occur due to a driver distracted from driving, and 10% of such accidents end in the death of one of its participants.
if their grandparents are driving. This is despite the fact that older people are more likely to use child seats incorrectly.
«Don’t distract the driver!» This phrase is written in blood. It is better to give up active communication while driving than to end up in the hospital. You can use a Bluetooth headset or Wi-Fi speakerphone to receive emergency calls.
Driver and animals
80% of pet owners transport animals in the front or back seat without any restraints. Studies have shown that in the event of an accident, even a small dog in free flight becomes 10-25 times heavier, and therefore not only loses its chances of survival, but also turns into a real threat to the life of the driver and passengers. To protect yourself and the animal, you should use special fixing belts, containers for transportation and other devices.
The driver and passengers, including children and animals, must be fastened or secured in any other way.
driver and sun
It has been proven that in motorists who have had the misfortune of getting sick with melanoma or Merkel’s carcinoma, cancer is more likely to affect the left side of the body. And in countries with left-hand traffic — respectively, the right one. True, at that time it was believed that the risk of developing cancer increases in those drivers who prefer open car windows. But, as observations have shown, closed windows do not fully protect the skin from the sun.
In May, a study was published by scientists from the Institute of Eye Diseases. Boxer Wachler (USA), according to which the absence of tinting on the front side windows increases the risk of developing cataracts and skin cancer on the left side. The researchers measured the intensity of UVA rays (long-wavelength ultraviolet radiation, 400-315 nm) penetrating the windshield and side windows of 29 car models from 15 of the world’s largest automakers (1990-2014 issue). It turned out that the windshield protects people sitting in the car from 96% of UVA rays, and side windows — only from 71%.
Scientists remind that UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, cause the destruction of collagen and lead not only to its premature aging, but also significantly increase the risk of melanoma. They believe that on a sunny day, drivers should use sunscreen that filters both UVA and UVB rays.
The sun for the motorist is not a friend, but an enemy. Protect yourself: creams, closed windows — everything that can somehow protect the driver from dangerous ultraviolet radiation.
Driver and dirty air
A car in the city is a source of harmful emissions. And most of all substances dangerous to humans are present in places where cars are congested, that is, in traffic jams. It is estimated that, on average, a car spends 24 minutes in traffic jams per hour of a trip around the city. All this time, the engine is idling and consumes approximately 15% of the total amount of fuel consumed. During these 24 minutes, 10% of the total volume of exhaust gases containing 17% of hydrocarbons and 20% of carbon monoxide (CO) is released into the air from the volume of emissions per hour. In Moscow alone, about 750,000 tons of pollutants enter the atmosphere from car exhaust pipes. And most of them are inhaled by people standing in traffic jams.
But besides traffic jams, which cannot be avoided, there is another factor that pollutes the air and harms the health of not only the driver, but also his passengers — smoking. Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco (USA) analyzed the urine of 14 people who were supposed to spend one hour in the back seat of a jeep. During this time, the driver smoked three cigarettes with the windows open at 10 cm. It turned out that at the same time, non-smoking passengers manage to absorb a considerable amount of toxic substances from tobacco smoke in just an hour. This suggests that passive smoking inside a car is harmful to humans, and people with bronchial asthma or cardiovascular diseases are especially affected.
Children who are forced to be in a car with smoking parents fall into a separate risk group. By the way, recently the Health Ministry of the Russian Federation took care of the health of the offspring of motorists. In the new anti-smoking concept for 2016-2020, it is planned to introduce a ban on smoking in a car if there is a child there.
There is also a myth that smoking with the windows closed and the air conditioner on is especially dangerous for health. But it’s not. Rather, it is dangerous for the air conditioning system, as tobacco smoke can disrupt the operation of the evaporator. In addition, substances from tobacco smoke can settle on the filters of the air conditioner and subsequently cause an unpleasant smell in the cabin.
Air conditioning for a car in a big city is not only a matter of comfort, but also of maintaining health.
Driver and hypodynamia
Motorists confidently outperform pedestrians and cyclists in terms of body mass index (BMI) and percentage of body fat. The British collected data on 150 thousand of their fellow citizens and found out that between the average cyclist and the same motorist, the difference is (in favor of cyclists, of course):
- for men 5 kg and 1.71 BMI units;
- for women 4.4 kg and 1.65 BMI units.
Pedestrians did not show such a big difference due to the fact that they actively use public transport. But even in this case, they have better performance than motorists. The difference in BMI is 0.7 units for men and 0.67 for women — in favor of pedestrians.
The car should be used not only for going to work, but also to get to the gym. And if possible, it is better to get to it on foot. Or on a bike.
Follow these rules and your car will be your true friend, and not a source of increased health hazard.