Hands on the wheel! Drivers pick, rub and scratch their face 26 TIMES an hour on average – potentially spreading germs and infection, study warns 

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  • Researchers analyzed 31 hours of driving footage from 36 drivers
  • They found that drivers touched their faces on average 26.4 times per hour
  • 42.5% of touches were on the lips, nostrils and the inner lining of the eyes
  • Previous research has shown that touching your face can increase your risk of spreading germs and infections, including COVID-19.

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been told to avoid touching our faces on a regular basis, but it seems many of us just can’t resist – especially while in the car.

New research has shown that drivers pick, rub and scratch their face an average of 26 times an hour.

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Worryingly, researchers at the University of Nottingham say the behavior can spread germs and infections, including COVID-19.

Study co-author Dr David R Large said: ‘Facial touching behaviors present a transmission risk to the driver, especially if that vehicle is shared or occupied by multiple parties, and where hand hygiene is poor. it occurs.

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For example, by scratching their nose or rubbing their eyes, the driver may inadvertently transfer a virus or other dangerous foreign substance — obtained from a contaminated vehicle control or surface — to their face while driving or before entering the vehicle. .’

New research has shown that drivers lift, rub and scratch their faces an average of 26 times an hour (stock image)

Why should you avoid touching your face?

Previous research has shown that touching your face can increase your risk of spreading germs and infections.

NS Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Explained: ‘Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, flu, or COVID-19, can be spread through droplets in the air when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or talks near you.

‘They can also be spread by direct contact with bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing germs.

‘When we touch sick people, or touch dirty surfaces, we contaminate our hands with germs. Then we can infect ourselves with those germs by touching our face.’

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In the study, the team analyzed 31 hours of driving footage from 36 drivers, and found that drivers touched their faces an average of 26.4 times per hour, with each touch lasting about four seconds.

The face was most touched (79.6 per cent), followed by hair (10 per cent), neck (8.6 per cent) and shoulders (1.7 per cent).

On the face, 42.5 percent of the touches were on the lips, nostrils and the inner lining of the eyes, known as the mucous membranes, with fingers and thumbs being used the most.

However, drivers were less likely to touch their faces during episodes of ‘high workload’ – when they were preparing to change lanes or turn.

“Driving as a task already has many physical touch points and requires manual manipulation of various control devices,” Dr Large said.

‘Understanding how these internal human behaviors, such as touching the face, and their potential impact on health and hygiene, and work-related factors, such as work and performance, are clearly important.’

Worryingly, previous research has shown that touching your face can increase your risk of spreading germs and infections, including COVID-19.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology explained: ‘Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, flu, or COVID-19, can be spread through droplets in the air when a sick person coughs, sneezes or is near you. talks.

On the face, 42.5 percent of the touches were on the lips, nostrils and the inner lining of the eyes, known as the mucous membranes, with fingers and thumbs being used the most.

On the face, 42.5 percent of the touches were on the lips, nostrils and the inner lining of the eyes, known as the mucous membranes, with fingers and thumbs being used the most.

In the study, the team analyzed 31 hours of driving footage from 36 drivers, and found that drivers touched their faces an average of 26.4 times per hour, with each touch lasting about four seconds.

In the study, the team analyzed 31 hours of driving footage from 36 drivers, and found that drivers touched their faces an average of 26.4 times per hour, with each touch lasting about four seconds.

‘They can also be spread by direct contact with bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing germs.

‘When we touch sick people, or touch dirty surfaces, we contaminate our hands with germs. Then we can infect ourselves with those germs by touching our face.’

The researchers hope the findings could help lead to the development of more touchless interfaces within cars.

They suggest that this could include hand or facial gestures to change radio stations or adjust air conditioning.

Study co-author Finian Ralph said existing driver monitoring systems that analyze blink rates and nods to detect fatigue could also prove useful.

‘The driver can be alerted if the system detects abnormal behavior that indicates face-touching, or a pre-emptive warning is provided, for example, during periods of low driving workload when in our study The results indicate that face-touching may be overkill – although it is recognized that such warnings may be annoying,’ he explained.

Penalties for using your phone while driving

It is estimated that 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices while driving at any time of the day.

That circulation is where there is a lot of danger. With so many people on the road using excessively distracting devices, the potential for accidents—and thus injuries and death—is incredibly high.

The potential for fatal consequences or injuring someone is the biggest risk factor with texting and driving, but there are other risks.

If you use a hand-held phone while driving, you could face up to 6 penalty points and a fine of £200.

Newly qualified drivers may be made to retake their driving test the first time they are caught.

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