A full moon may spell extra danger for motorcyclists, a new study suggests. Momentary distractions are a common cause of crashes. Because a full moon can be a major distraction and occurs about 12 times a year, researchers decided to investigate whether full moons might be linked to more motorcyclists’ deaths. “Glancing at the full moon takes the motorcyclist’s gaze off the road, which could result in a loss of control,” explained study author Donald Redelmeier, a professor at the University of Toronto’s department of medicine. The average motorcycle ride is more dangerous than a drunk driver with no seatbelt traveling the same distance, he added. “Because of this, we recommend riders and drivers orient their attention, ignore distractions, and continuously monitor their dynamic surroundings,” he said. In the study, the researchers analyzed data on just over 13,000 fatal motorcycle crashes that occurred in the United States from 1975 to 2014. Of those, 4,494 occurred on 494 nights with a full moon and 8,535 on 988 nights without a full moon. That worked out to 9.1 fatal crashes on nights with a full moon and 8.6 fatal crashes on nights when the moon wasn’t full. For every two full moon nights, there was one additional fatal crash, according to the report, published Dec. 11 in the BMJ. “While these figures might seem low on the…  read on >

(HealthDay News) — One in 25 U.S. drivers reports having fallen asleep while driving during the past month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The first step to prevention is recognizing the symptoms of driving drowsy, the agency says, offering this list of warning signs: Yawning or blinking a lot. Having difficulty remembering the past few miles driven. Missing your exit. Drifting from your lane. Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road.

Motorcycle crashes are far costlier than car accidents, both in lives lost and in medical expenses, a new study shows. Canadian researchers found that the death rate from motorcycle crashes was five times greater than from car crashes, and the rate of severe injury was 10 times greater. That came with a six times greater cost to the health care system. Though the findings stem from an analysis of traffic accidents in the Canadian province of Ontario, the researchers said that similar patterns would likely be seen elsewhere. One reason: Motorcycles are inherently more risky because motorcycles lack the protections that cars provide. “It’s clear that it’s much more dangerous to ride a motorcycle than to ride in a car,” said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Pincus. But the study isn’t saying that motorcycles should be taken off the road. “A lot of people enjoy riding motorcycles, so we’re not saying the answer is to ban them from doing it,” said Pincus, who’s with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, in Toronto. Riding simply should be made safer, he said. Kara Macek, a spokesperson for the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), agreed. Universal helmet laws are one way, she said. In the United States, only about half of states require helmets for all motorcyclists, according to the GHSA. “Just telling people to wear helmets is not…  read on >