An alarming video went viral after capturing a violent crash caused by a sneezing fit. Perhaps more startling than the chaos that ensued, however, is the warning experts issued. Apparently, such incidents aren’t as uncommon as we might think.
An unnamed 42-year-old driver of the SUV is lucky, but it might not appear that way at first. The man was involved in a violent rollover crash in Belle Meade, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville around 2 pm on a Monday afternoon. The cause of the crash was actually quite common. The man had fallen victim to the results of sneezing while driving, and it nearly cost him his life.
After suffering an allergy attack, the man began to sneeze, and the sneezing fit had disastrous results. Before he knew it, he lost control of his white Ford SUV. It flipped over, trapping him inside, and skidded down the middle of the road on its side near the Percy Warner Golf Course. The airbag deployed, and he lost his front tire — all because he began sneezing while driving.
Eight good Samaritans rushed to his aid and worked as a team to turn the car upright just in the nick of time. The driver was then able to escape thanks to the group of golfers and construction workers. After he got out, he appeared dazed but otherwise okay. The same couldn’t be said for his SUV.
As the driver checked for damage, smoke began to pour out of the vehicle. The SUV then burst into flames as the fire that suddenly engulfed the vehicle spread across the hood and windshield of the vehicle — all the result of sneezing while driving.
After the violent rollover crash, along with the aftermath, was captured on camera, experts are using it to warn others since a simple sneeze while driving can result in dangerous consequences more often than people may realize. In fact, it’s an accident waiting to happen, as this guy learned the hard way.
“I just started sneezing, like my allergies were flaring, and I started sneezing,” the unidentified driver recalled. “It felt like my front right tire went out, all of a sudden. It was slamming, and it was all a blur. And, the next thing I know, I was spinning, and it was over on its side.”
When you’re behind the wheel of a car and you sneeze, your eyes involuntarily close. You simply can’t help it. That seemingly brief moment when your eyes are off the road isn’t as harmless as you may think either. According to one study, when you sneeze while driving, you travel at least 50 feet while your eyes are closed.
In other words, it’s an accident waiting to happen, and not everyone will be as lucky as the driver of the SUV, who’s still stunned that he was able to walk away virtually unscathed. “My adrenaline was flowing,” the unnamed driver admitted. “Literally, I had a bruise on my arm and that was it,” he added. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? I just flipped this car, and I’m walking away with a bruise?'”
“When your sneezing, whatever’s irritated your nose then triggers a reaction in your brain that causes many things,” an expert on Inside Edition explained. “In addition to your eyes closing, you’ll see the throat closing up as well. You’re gonna have the tongue going to the roof of your mouth,” she furthered.
“A sudden rush of air is going to come out through your nose and your mouth very forcefully to the point you really are not in control of any other part of your body at that moment,” the expert added before pointing out the obvious: “You can’t focus consciously on anything else until that sneeze has passed.”
As a result, it’s estimated that as many as 2,500 accidents a week are caused because of sneezing while driving. Therefore, experts advise drivers to pull over if they feel a sneeze coming on. Since this isn’t always possible, drivers should leave four car lengths between themselves and the vehicle in front of them in case a sneeze suddenly sneaks up on them before they’re able to pull over.
It is also recommended that drivers avoid getting behind the wheel when they have a severe cold that’s made them prone to sneezing. Although this sounds like being overly cautious, it doesn’t seem like overkill after watching the violent results of “harmless” sneezing while driving.