|

10

Is it Legal to Sneeze While Driving?

  • Harwoods

The short answer to this is yes. However, if sneezing causes you to lose control of your vehicle or results in a crash, then you might pay a fine. The leading cause of driving accidents in the UK is drivers failing to look properly according to the Department for Transport. This accounts for 34.2% of accidents which is 24,137 accidents last year. Some of this could be distracted or careless driving, but what happens if your body forces you to take your eyes off the road? With hay fever affecting 49% of people in the UK, the driving experts at Harwoods have studied the effects of sneezing on driving and have added some tips to help you stay in control over your car even when you don’t have full control over your nose.

How dangerous is sneezing while driving?

According to section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 “If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence.”

As sneezing causes your eyes to shut, this can fall under the “lack of attention” portion of the act. Depending on the speed, whenever you sneeze, you are travelling a distance without being in full control over your vehicle. Below is a calculation of the distance you would travel with each speed:

Speed (mph)

Distance covered in 1 sneeze (m)

Length of cars travelled

20

4.47

1

30

6.71

2

40

8.94

2

50

11.18

3

60

13.41

3

70

15.65

4

Speed (mph)

Distance covered in 2 sneeze (m)

Length of cars travelled

20

8.94

2

30

13.41

3

40

17.88

4

50

22.35

5

60

26.82

6

70

31.29

7

Speed (mph)

Distance covered in 3 sneeze (m)

Length of cars travelled

20

13.41

3

30

20.12

5

40

26.82

6

50

33.53

8

60

40.23

9

70

46.94

11

Can you get a fine for sneezing while driving?

Any driver who is found guilty of careless driving, also known as driving without due care and attention, could face on the spot £100 fines and three penalty points. You can also face fines of up to £2,500 and even disqualification from driving in more serious incidents. (RAC) Careless driving covers several offences, from showing poor lane discipline on the motorway to swerving while changing the radio station. Sneezing while driving could fall under this category as drivers will have their eyes closed for a period of time and others might even take their hands off the steering wheel to cover their mouths or blow their nose which can result in an accident.

Driving Tips For Sneezing While Driving

Take Necessary Precautions For Allergy Season

If you are susceptible to hay fever or have a cold, make sure to blow your nose before you start your drive. Also, make sure to take medicine if you need it and keep a few allergy tables in your car just in case.

Avoid Sneezing if You Can

If you feel a sneeze coming and can stop it while driving, try to do so. Here are a few tips on how you could do so, although these do not always work for everyone:

● Pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth could help you stop sneezing. Doing this for 5-10 seconds until the urge to sneeze goes away works for some people.

● You can also tickle the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 5-10 seconds to help get rid of a sneeze.

● Avoid staring directly into any sunlight as this causes a lot of people to sneeze.

● Saying a random word out loud works for a few people online. A few quote using the word “Pickles” helps get rid of a sneeze, but test a few random words and see their effects

Park Up To Sneeze If You Can Do So Safely

The safest way to sneeze would be in a stationary car, but only park up or stop the vehicle if it's safe to do so. It may be more dangerous to stop unexpectedly than sneezing while driving and keeping your hands on the wheel.

Take Some Extra Precautions Before Sneezing

The most practical way to sneeze while driving is to prepare yourself to do so while driving at a steady and safe pace. Make sure to keep your distance from any cars ahead of you before you sneeze, keep both hands on the wheel and avoid slamming the brakes to ensure the few seconds you spend sneezing do not result in chaotic driving.

If You Sneeze, Make Sure To Focus on The Road Again ASAP

If a sneeze is unavoidable, make sure you keep both hands on the wheel and only blow your nose when you are able to park up and secure your car safely. Remember to clear your steering wheel after your journey to avoid spreading germs around.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility so making sure you’re prepared for hay fever season will make sure you don’t have to explain why you rear-ended someone because of a sneeze. Have a safe trip and oh bless you! For more driving expertise and tips make sure to visit the advice section of our blog.

Methodology We used the average sneeze time from PubMed and the average car size NimbleFins Insurance. We used these to calculate the distance driven while sneezing at different speeds and its equivalent in car length. We found the driving penalty fines from RAC and the sneezing tip prevention from healthline.

Published by Amy Josling Digital Marketing & Content Executive

Value My Car

It’s easy to find out how much your car is worth. All we’ll need is your car’s registration number, as well as a few other details, to provide you with a fair online car valuation.

Contact Us

Find your nearest Harwoods showroom to speak to one of our trained and friendly advisors. Book a test drive, discover our excellent aftercare packages and browse our range of services and products.

  • Tailored Service

    Here to help, advise, support, and answer your questions, whenever you need us

  • Over 90 years experience

    Leading automotive retailer group in the South of England for over 90 years

  • Customer-first

    Never pushy, always here to make sure you feel valued and recognised

  • Bespoke Experience

    Manufacturer-standard knowledge, services and aftercare