If you didn’t sleep well the night before, you might think it’s not a big deal when you get into your vehicle and head to work. But fatigue can lead to dangerous driving and car accidents.
In the Neglected Driver Survey conducted by Insurance Hunter in 2012, 30 per cent of Ontario dads and 14 per cent of moms who went on a road trip with children under 12 years old nodded off while behind the wheel. (Dads are more likely to be the driver during the road trip.) Also, 23 per cent of dads and 11 per cent of moms swerved due to fatigue and 32 per cent of dads and 24 per cent of moms were worried their drowsiness would lead to a car accident.
“Our survey shows the vast majority take the driver’s needs into consideration in the planning and preparation stage but not while driving−the most important stage of a road trip,” says Gail Robertson, Public Relations Manager for Insurance Hunter, in a press release. “Although today’s parents put their kids’ needs first, the driver’s needs must become the priority if families are to arrive safely at their destination.”
But knowing they’re tired hasn’t stopped dads from getting behind the wheel and 64 per cent continued driving and ignored their heavy eyelids. Younger parents were more likely to ignore the signs of with 47 per cent of adults between 18 to 34 continuing to drive compared to adults between 35 to 54 years old.
If you’re behind the wheel and you’re excessively blinking or yawning, resting your eyes for a bit or losing focus while you drive or not being able to focus while driving, it’s safer you consider letting someone take over. Some signs of dangerous driving due to fatigue include drifting across the centre line, last minute braking or slowing down without realizing it.
A study conducted by Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that if you drive at night, depending on the length of time, it’s similar to driving when you’re drunk. If you drove for three hours at night, it’s the same as driving while drunk with a 0.08 per cent blood alcohol content (BAC), and if you drove for two hours, it’s the same as driving while buzzed with a 0.05 BAC. Also, turning up the music or opening the window for some air had little effect on the results.
Drowsiness causes about 20 per cent of fatal car crashes in Canada, according to Transport Canada. Also, in 2006, 167,000 Ontario drivers were involved in a vehicle collision caused by driving while drowsy or fatigued, according to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation.
Transport Canada offers some tips to help you combat the fatigue and get where you need to go safely.
- Sleep well before a long trip
- Take turns driving
- Take a break every few hours and walk around when you do
- Eat a small meal or fruit and drink water during your trip
- Take a 20 minute to 40 minute nap to refresh yourself
In the unfortunate scenario where you need to collect vehicle accident benefits due to an injury, no matter who is at fault, the personal injury and accident lawyers at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers can help. They have been dealing with all accident related issues throughout Ontario for over 45 years. We know how to get you the compensation that you deserve and get your life back in order after being in a car accident. Call us at 416-920-4242, set up a free consultation, and come speak with us.
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