DRIVING ME CRAZY
Improbable scientific research from the world of motoring
Researchers in Canada have published a study in the American Journal of Medicine that suggests a correlation between a person’s Covid vaccine status and the probability of them being involved in a road accident. Examining the medical records of 11 million adults, 16 per cent of whom had not had a Covid vaccination, they discovered that unvaccinated people were 72 per cent more likely to be involved in a severe road accident, defined as one in which at least one person needed hospital treatment, than those who had received the vaccine. The increased risk from unvaccinated drivers “exceeds the safety gains from modern automobile engineering advances and also imposes risks on other road users” according to the researchers, and while it is only half the increased risk of that posed by drink drivers, it is comparable to the risk posed by people who are deprived of sleep due to sleep apnoea.
The paper is not suggesting that being vaccinated in some way improves your driving skills, but proposes that opposition to governmentimposed public health measures is likely to be a result of a distrust in government, a belief in “freedom”, faith in “natural protection” or a misconception of everyday risks. All of these could potentially also lead people to “neglect basic road safety guidelines” researchers suggest. “The findings suggest that unvaccinated adults need to be careful indoors with other people and outside with surrounding traffic,” they concluded. The study was widely mocked online as being a gift to car insurance companies wanting to hike their premiums, as well as another way of ‘othering’ the unvaccinated. fortune.com, 13 Dec 2023.
SMALL MEN, FAST CARS
In a preprint paper, yet to be peer reviewed, psychologists claim to have found evidence that men with small penises really do overcompensate by driving fast cars. Professor Daniel C Richardson of the Experimental Psychology department at University College London (UCL) and his team carried out an experiment in which 200 English-speaking males aged between 18 and 74 years were given an online task that they were told was about their ability to remember facts while shopping. Before each round they were briefly shown a statement and a picture of a product and asked to say how much they would like to own the product. In among the questions there were statements about average penis size and these were always followed by a picture of a sports car. Some of the statements were designed to lead participants to believe their penis was larger than average, while others suggested it was smaller.
When Professor Richardson and his team analysed the results, they found that those who had been led to believe their penis was below average size were more likely to rate sports cars as highly desirable, with the trend being most marked in men over 30. “Perhaps there is just something specific linking cars and penises in the male psyche,” said Professor Richardson. iflscience.com, 11 Jan 2023.