August 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Along with driving while intoxicated, texting and cellphone distractions are widely regarded as a leading cause of accidents in Ontario and elsewhere. However, long before such devices posed a threat to motorists, people were driving while exhausted or drowsy. A 2010 report by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators stated that approximately one in five fatal collisions were caused by driver fatigue, and not all instances involved tractor-trailer
drivers. In 2007, 60 percent of Canadians admitted to driving while fatigued, according to Transport Canada, and in 2006, as many as 167,000 drivers were involved in an accident due to fatigue or drowsy driving in Ontario alone, according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Signs of fatigue and those who are most at risk
Oftentimes, fatigue occurs on long trips when the drive can be monotonous, causing the brain to switch from alert and engaged to distracted or even lethargic. Typically, fatigue is accompanied by a number of telltale signs:
- Wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Unintentionally slowing down
- Yawning frequently
- Losing eye focus
- Inability to remember driving the past few kilometers
- Drifting either over the center line or off to the side of the road
- Closing one's eyes for "just a moment"
Various studies cited by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation have revealed that certain drivers are at a higher risk of driving while fatigued. Night shift or rotating shift workers, commercial vehicle operators, inexperienced drivers and individuals suffering from sleep disorders or taking certain medications are more at risk. Persons who have even the legal amount of alcohol in their system are also at a higher risk due to the sedative nature of the substance.
Avoid fatigued driving
According to Transport Canada, driver fatigue occurs most commonly during the periods between 2:00 and 4:00, both in the morning and in the afternoon, due to the body's natural circadian rhythms. Taking breaks from driving during these peak times and also throughout long trips dramatically reduces the amount of causing an accident due to fatigue. Getting an adequate amount of sleep prior to your trip is also one of the most important ways to prevent fatigued driving.
Additionally, stop every two to three hours and spend at least five to 10 minutes walking or otherwise moving around to increase blood flow. The consistent sedentary nature of driving is naturally conducive to drowsiness. Drive with others; ideally, having more than one driver can help avoid fatigued driving, and the social stimulation provided by others can help ensure that you remain alert too. Pack fruit, water and light meals to keep the body engaged during the trip. If you begin to feel fatigued, even a short nap of 20 to 40 minutes can help diminish fatigue and allow you to continue the trip.
It is important for drivers to make sure they get an adequate amount of sleep and be able to identify when they are too tired to drive. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving fatigued driving, it is important to contact a lawyer who has experience and knowledge in handling cases of driver fatigue. If you're a truck driver being pushed to drive more than 13 hours a day or without sufficient rest between shifts, you too may benefit from securing robust legal representation.
Article provided by McLeish Orlando LLP, Personal Injury Lawyers
Visit us at www.mcleishorlando.com