Fatigued Driving is Impaired Driving
- Driver fatigue is a contributing factor in 19% and the cause in 4% of all fatal vehicle collisions. It is the cause of about 20% of non-fatal crashes. These numbers are likely conservative since there is no simple means to assess driver fatigue and drowsiness following a collision.
- Across Canada, 500 people lose their lives due to traffic collisions that are caused, at least in part, by driver fatigue.
- Those most at risk of being involved in a collision due to driver fatigue are professional / commercial drivers, shift workers, young people, and those with sleep disorders.
SOURCES: Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), Traffic Injury Research Foundation Database
If you drive when you're drowsy, you're putting yourself, your passengers, and others at risk.
Fatigue slows reaction time - a serious thing when your vehicle is driving the length of a football field every 3.6 seconds (as it does at 100 km. per hour). Picture this: if your reaction time is just 1/2 second slower, at 40 km. per hour, you will go two car lengths further before you begin to respond to a child running in front of you.
Fatigue decreases awareness. Many collisions can be avoided through good situational awareness - being aware of traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians around you and anticipating ways in which they may cross paths with you. If you're tired, you're not as aware of others on or near the road, and if you're not aware, you can't slow down or take other steps to avoid that collision.
Fatigue impairs judgment. In a 2005 study by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 20% of Canadians polled admitted to falling asleep at least once in the previous year. To drive a vehicle while fatigued displays is an appalling lack of judgment, and those who do so are as impaired as those who have had too much to drink.
Some warning signs of impairment due to fatigue:
- Physical evidence of fatigue such as yawning or fidgeting
- Inability to remember the last few kilometres
- Difficulty concentrating or in carrying on a conversation
- Tailgating, drifting over the centre line, or drifting on to the shoulder
If you are a passenger with a fatigued driver, insist on a rest break at the next opportunity, and offer to take over driving if you are able and rested.
If you are the driver who is fatigued, look for a safe place to pull completely off the road, and rest. Until you are able to do so, use fresh air and conversation to help you stay alert. Don't resume driving until you are alert. Remember that in the first minute or so after you wake up from a nap, you will not be alert enough to drive safely.
For more information on how fatigue affects your driving ability please refer to the following link.