A full moon can increase the risk of a fatal crash for motorcyclists, according to research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Using data from the United States, UK, Canada and Australia, researchers discovered that on nights illuminated by a full moon, fatal motorcycle collisions increased by 5%, compared to nights without a full moon. On evenings with a “supermoon” – which comes into focus around once a year – fatal collisions increased by 32%.
While the researchers state that the observational data does not prove any firm conclusions, they warn drivers of the risks of seemingly minor distractions, urging constant attention while driving at all times.
“Drivers face a number of distractions behind the wheel — from texting, to phone calls to road obstructions and more,” said study co-author Eldar Shafir from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Our study adds to the literature that small distractions can sometimes lead to life-altering consequences.”
Lead author Donald Redelmeier, professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, added: “Glancing at the full moon takes the motorcyclist’s gaze off the road, which could result in a loss of control. The average ride on a motorcycle is more dangerous than a drunk driver with no seatbelt traveling the same distance. Because of this, we recommend riders and drivers orient their attention, ignore distractions, and continuously monitor their dynamic surroundings.