Cruising in your car could be more dangerous than you think — especially if you like to put your left arm out the driver’s-side window.
Research from the University of Washington suggests that people in the U.S. are more likely to develop skin cancer on the left side of their body, and that’s probably because of all the time we spend in our cars.
They found that when skin cancer occurred on one side of the body, 52% of melanoma cases and 53% of merkel cell carcinomas were on the left side. On the upper arms, 55% of merkel cell cases developed on the left side…. Other research supports the idea that sun exposure while driving can contribute to cancer. In countries where people drive on the opposite side of the road, the right arm gets more sun exposure. A 1986 study cited by the researchers found that Australian men were more likely to show precancerous growths on the right side of their bodies.
Researchers are advising that those who drive with the window down apply sunscreen before getting behind the wheel.
Car windows block the most harmful UV, according to the study. But overtime, sunlight coming through the driver’s-side window could still damage skin.