Certain driving practices may put you at a higher risk ... Certain driving practices may put you at a higher risk for skin cancer (Adam Morath, AOL Autos).
Summer is upon us, which means more of the country is driving with the window down, elbow resting on the door.

If that sounds like you, consider limiting your open air driving to an open sunroof, and only if you wear a hat. That's because a new study shows a link between driving and the incidence of skin cancer on the left sides of people who drive a lot -- the side exposed to the sun.

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have found that Americans have a tendency to develop the worst forms of skin cancer – notably melanomas and merkel cell carcinomas – on the left side of their bodies. There is an especially high incidence of cancers discovered on the upper arm, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

This report adds to a growing body of evidence that driving can increase a motorist's exposure to ultra-violet (UV) light, which is linked to skin cancer. In countries like the U.S., where drivers sit on the left side of their car, studies have found more cancers form on the left side. Other research, including a 1986 report from Australia, found that in countries where the steering wheel is situated on the other side of the vehicle, there are more cancers and pre-cancerous growths on the right side of a driver.

That's pretty compelling evidence that driving has a big impact on incidence of skin cancer.

The incidence of cancer is most severe, suggest the authors of the new University of Washington study, for people who drive with a window open, drive convertibles, or those who simply spend an extensive amount of time behind the wheel; those, for example, who make their living driving.

The solution is rather simple. Auto glass today filters out most of the bad UV that can cause skin cancer, so driving with windows up and the air conditioner on is a better choice, even though your fuel economy will be worse. Too, side glass does not have quite as much UV blocking material as windshields.

A layer of glass tinting applied by an after-market detailing shop is one answer, especially for those who drive for a living and are in a vehicle all day long. Long sleeve shirts for those drivers is also an obvious choice, though warm summer days seem to beg for short sleeves. On those days, sunscreen on your arm, neck, face and head is advised.

Most people would not think of applying sun screen if they intend to be in the car all day. But a bit of prevention could be worth a lot of cure.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 64 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      so if you drive with your pecker out in the middle with no hands what happens?
      • 3 Years Ago
      So um.... why must everyone complain about the word cancer? Drinking water is cancerous, driving your car is cancerous, breathing is even cancerous. Here's a clue for the world: Shut up.
      whlorentz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Two-handed driving was the way I was taught in high school driver-ed. Follow good driving habits and prevent cancer at the same time, sort of a double benefit toward saving lives.
      gpt748
      • 3 Years Ago
      How come ********* don't give aids?
      johnnysparks88
      • 3 Years Ago
      More wasted time and money, My Grand father , Father, Uncles and my self all drive or have driven with our arm out the window and nobody in my family had or has skin cancer. To many studies put the money to better use.
      Bob & Pat
      • 3 Years Ago
      I remember a "Dick Tracy Crimestoppers Handbook" item about recognizing gangsters from the New York area when they visited Florida by noticing the sunburned left arms. Also, you shouldn't have your arm out the window anyway--both hands should be on or near the steering wheel. The only exception would be if your turn signal were broken and you had to use hand signals (remember those?) to indicate turns.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bob & Pat
        I think it just refers to the likelihood that sun will shine in from the side window, left when you are a driver in most of the world, and right when you are the person that never drives... but they forgot to warn passengers.... I hope I didn't ruin next week's AOL "Be Scared to DEATH!" feature.
      mwcaptainamerica
      • 3 Years Ago
      ONG - The AOL lefty moronic way thinking is out of the bag. You people really suck, and you are destroying the free world. You won't go away in 2012, but one can only hope.
      • 3 Years Ago
      @Erne...actually, I did think that the subject, "Cars giving you cancer", was literally speaking, as the fumes from cars could. So, maybe the subject and contents were not accurate, but could be a report on each as it relates to a car..Sun and Fumes.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Michael, you wrote, "Or,maybe the best thing to do would be to sleep during the day, work and play at night" But what about.... MOONLIGHT??? Remember, moonlight is simply reflected SUNLIGHT! Sure, it's a lot less, but remember: there is no safe level of exposure!
      • 3 Years Ago
      My husband and I have driven all of the the US. What we did about the sun on the arms is to cut the arms out of an old thermal under shirt. Slip it over the arm that's in the sun.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ban patio dining at restaurants and bars! Why should some poor waiter or waitress have to risk and early and painful death from malignant melanoma just because you feel like broiling your basal cells while sipping a Marguerita? No one should have to choose between their life and a paycheck! Move it indoors and if you're *really* addicted to sunshine just pop outside once in a while and lie down on the sidewalk. - MJM
      AASUXASS
      • 3 Years Ago
      I personally would be more afraid of what the car is made with on the iside of it giving you cancer.
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