Edna Hickson was involved in a bad car accident Sunday morning, but the 79-year-old didn’t die because of another driver or poor driving skills – she was killed because of a sneeze, Newser reports.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian widow was driving her Hyundai Elantra around a bend while heading to her sister Betty Sheelah’s house when the accident occurred. Police say the crash caused her car to roll several times.
Hickson, who was preparing for a week-long stay with her sibling, suffered internal injuries, but was alert after the crash and able to speak with paramedics about what happened. Sheelah says Hickson told the medical team that she had sneezed, and that was what caused her to have the accident.
The woman was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died from internal injuries. Her family says they were making plans to throw Hickson a big party for her 80th birthday in October.
Although not common, sneezing is actually to blame for more than a few car accidents, The Washington Post reports. According to a study taken by Halfords Autocentres, drivers who sneeze while driving at 60 mph may travel 50 feet with their eyes closed. Examples of drivers who crashed as the result of a sneeze include a single mom in Missouri, who was fatally hit by a car whose driver lost control after a sneeze in 2012, as well as a man who was pushing a disabled vehicle along a street in Florida in 2013 when he was hit and killed by a driver who had sneezed.
Steve Rounds of the Central Motorway Police Group told the Daily Mail that drivers with bad colds should stay off the road. “Driving a car with such symptoms would certainly be irresponsible and could be held as an aggravating factor in any accident that led to death or serious injury, laying the driver open to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving,” Rounds said.