In Canada it is estimated that 20% of fatal collisions are caused by drowsy drivers. This percentage is a scary statistic, and it means we need to take road safety much more seriously.
A staggering 60% of Canadians admitted to driving drowsy and according to a 2007 Road Safety Canada Report 15% admitted to actually falling asleep while driving.
The statistics for drowsy driving are alarming and seriously impede our road safety. Most people realize the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol, however, many do not realize that driving drowsy can be just as fatal. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the similarities are uncanny, “Like alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of crashing.” (Source: http://drowsydriving.org/about/)
Road Safety Canada has outlined some warning signs of being drowsy that you must acknowledge before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle;
- Blinking or yawning frequently
- Closing eyes for a moment or going out of focus
- Having wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Realizing that you have slowed down unintentionally
- Braking too late
- Not being able to remember driving the last few kilometers
- Drifting over the centre line onto the other side of the road
“Everyone is subject to their body’s circadian rhythms such that they are less alert during certain times of the day, usually 2:00-4:00 a.m. and 2:00-4:00 p.m. Therefore, taking breaks from driving during these times could lower the risk of fatigue related collisions considerably.” (Source: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/tp-tp15145-1201.htm#s37)
In addition to taking your body’s circadian rhythms into perspective there are other ways you can avoid drowsy driving, which in turn will promote road safety. The following are some suggestions to consider;
- Sleep well prior to long road trips
- Share the driving with other passengers
- Take regular rest stops every couple of hours and do some exercise
- Eat light meals or fruit throughout the journey and drink water
- If one feels tired during the trip, a nap of twenty to forty minutes is an effective way of reducing sleepiness
We at Youngs Insurance Brokers are determined to provide continued awareness on issues relating to road, driver safety. Please continue to follow our updates.
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