Heeding the advice of public health authorities across North America, more and more people are choosing to wear a mask when they have to get out of the house. There are still some risks, mind you, and not necessarily the ones you think about.
A driver in New Jersey gave us an example when he crashed into a pole with his Mazda CX-5.
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According to the Lincoln Park Police Department, the man passed out behind the wheel after wearing an N95 mask—the same type used by first responders and hospital staff—for “several hours.”
It doesn’t appear the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While fatigue or another medical factor can’t be ruled out, police came to the conclusion that the likeliest cause was "insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake" after wearing the mask for several hours.
Fortunately, the driver was alone and suffered no serious injuries. But imagine if he had struck another vehicle or pedestrians instead. And what if the crash had occurred on a bridge or in a tunnel?
As for the CX-5, it’s quite a different story. Based on the picture, we’d say it’s a total loss—or something close to that.
"Motorists and the public alike are reminded that while masks should be used in public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, they are not necessary outdoors when social distancing can be maintained, and especially not necessary when driving a vehicle with no additional occupants," the Lincoln Park PD wrote on Facebook.