October 20th, 2020

Students learn about driving while fatigued


By Bobinec, Greg on November 6, 2019.

Jenna Hamilton tries to follow the directions of her Ford Canada colleague Angela Cabucos while wearing a fatigue simulation suit, as their team was at the University of Lethbridge Tuesday raising awareness of the dangers of driving while tired. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

Ford of Canada joined the Lethbridge Police Service Tuesday morning at the University of Lethbridge to share precautions and tips on the dangers of driving while fatigued.

With daylight time passing, many people have felt the effects of time change, and students can expect feeling more drowsy with their crammed schedules and active social lives. A Ford of Canada spokesperson says the U of L is a good choice to get the message out because students consistently face a lack of sleep due to juggling assignments, work, exams and socializing.

“We are here with Ford of Canada at the University of Lethbridge talking to students about the dangers of driving while drowsy,” says Angela Cabucos, Ford of Canada spokesperson. “Being that it was just daylight saving a couple days ago and also that students are chronically sleep deprived, we really wanted to be here to talk to students about the dangers of getting behind the wheel when you are too tired.”

Students were able to experience some of the effects of fatigue by wearing Ford’s specially designed sleep suit which weighs the individual down, reduces their eyesight and allows them to feel what it’s like to have a micro-sleep while awake.

“One in five accidents, usually the case is that they were too tired behind the wheel and led to a car accident, so we want to make sure that students especially are aware of the dangers of that and they know the signs to look for when you are too tired,” says Cabucos. “If you are experiencing forgetfulness, clumsiness, frequently yawning, and your body had uncontrolled responses from being too tired, it micro sleeps, so you sleep for a few seconds at a time and your eyes could even be open when it is happening, but you are zoned out and not aware of your surroundings and that can obviously be very dangerous when you are on the road for yourself and to other people around you.”

The Lethbridge Police Service joined the initiative to educate students and the community about the dangers of fatigued driving. Having both a college and university in the city brings in thousands students who often replace sleep with work or social activities, and LPS says it’s a good time to give them some tips about staying safe while keeping busy.

“We are partnering up with the message that Ford Canada is sending out about fatigue and trying to make sure that people are aware of it and to try and decrease some of the habits that are happening out there,” says Sgt. Rod Pastoor, with the LPS Traffic Response Unit. “In Lethbridge we are fortunate to have a college and university and the students have full course loads. They are trying to work and they have social lives as well, and usually all of those oversee what they need for sleep, so if we can make sure that they are aware that they need to get some rest, if they notice the signs of being drowsy, that they do the appropriate thing to stop that.”

Having a consistent rest schedule, healthy diet, exercise and stretching are ways to make sure you are fully functional and awake to drive on the roads and prevent fatigued accidents.

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