Cyclists are more likely to suffer a fatal crash when the moon is full, according to a new study.
Investigators found that the full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle accidents in Britain and Australia, the United States and Canada.
They say their findings, published in The BMJ, should encourage motorcyclists to travel with special care during the full moon and, in general, to appreciate the power of seemingly minor distractions at all times. [19659002Scientistssaythatthemiracleadministrationisatributarypartnerinthetransit
. The full moon occurs approximately 12 times a year, appearing large and bright in the night sky, and therefore is a potential distraction for road users. The next one is January 2.
Professor Donald Redelmeier, from the University of Toronto in Canada, and Professor Eldar Shafir, from Princeton University in the United States, established whether the Full moon could contribute to motorcycle-related deaths.
They analyzed figures from the United States official record of motor vehicle crashes from 1975 to 2014, and calculated the number of fatal crashes on full moon nights compared to night control, exactly one week before and one week after the full moon.
A total of 13,029 people suffered a fatal motorcycle accident during the 1,482 separate nights – 494 full moon nights, 988 nights of control.
The typical motorcyclist was a middle-aged man, with an average age of 32 years, riding a street bike in a rural place that suffered a frontal frontal impact and was not wearing a helmet.
In general, 4,494 fatal accidents occurred in the 494 nights wit full moon, equal to 9.10 per night, and 8,535 in 988 control nights without a full moon, equal to 8.64 per night.
That gave an absolute total increase of 226 additional fatalities during the study period, which means for every two nights of the full moon, there was an additional fatal collapse.
Similar results were obtained after data analyzes of Great Britain, Australia and Canada.
The increase in risk was accentuated under a supermoon. Of the 494 full moon nights, 65 were a supermoon night, where the moon looks bigger and brighter than a regular full moon.
A total of 703 fatal accidents occurred on a supermoon night, equal to 10.82 per night – about two additional deaths on a night with a supermoon.
The researchers said it was an observational study, so no firm conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. For example, other distractions and traffic hazards were not taken into account, nor were factors such as the prevailing climate.
But they said their findings underscore the importance of constant attention while driving, and that extra care is needed when driving during a full trip.
Professor Redelmeier said: "Additional strategies while driving may include wearing a helmet, activating headlights, scanning the road surface for defects, respecting the weather, distrusting vehicles that turn left, obeying traffic laws and avoid acrobatics. " 19659023]