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Driver fatigue: Do you know when it’s time to stop?

According to the SAAQ, each year on average, 78 people are killed and 8,532 are injured due to driver fatigue.  We compare the effects of sleep deprivation to the effects of alcohol.

Our Internal clock

Our internal clock that regulates many things in addition to our sleep cycle is directly influenced by light and darkness, i.e. by day and night.  Dips in our internal clock cycle occur between midnight and 6 a.m. and, to a lesser degree, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.  During these periods, our metabolism slows, alertness decreases, and fatigue is felt more acutely.

The “fake” solutions

Drinking coffee, rolling down a window or turning up the radio are not effective and durable solutions.  First of all, caffeine takes several minutes to act. If it can make us more alert for a short time, we must also take into consideration that its effects may vary widely from one person to another.

Only one solution: stop!

Fatigue is a biological state that neither willpower, experience nor motivation can overcome. Its effects interfere significantly with driver performance, regardless of driving experience.

When you start to feel the signs of fatigue, the only real safe solution is to stop to take a break to stretch your legs or, ideally, take a 15 to 30 minutes nap.

When you think about it, a 15-minute break in a safe spot is much better that a big crash a little further down the road!


Jackie Beaudoin, Leclerc Insurance and Financial Services
Source :  Inspired by an article on the SAAQ Website

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