Drowsy driving, or driver fatigue, puts Canadians at risk, affecting their on-road awareness, and impairing their ability to respond in time to hazards and changing road conditions. According to Transport Canada, an estimated 20% of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue in some manner.
That’s why Ford engineers develop driver assist technology designed to help drivers recognize they may be driving tired.
Don’t drowse and drive
Drivers are particularly vulnerable when driving on long monotonous roads, driving without sleeping the recommended hours of sleep, driving home after work – especially after the night shift, and driving after eating a large meal or taking medicine that can cause drowsiness.
Driving tired is all the more dangerous because drivers often aren’t able to recognize the signs before it’s too late. Even the most experienced and diligent drivers are susceptible to driver fatigue.
The symptoms can include uncontrollable blinking and yawning, missing road signs, incoherent thoughts, irritability, not being able to remember the previous few kilometres of the drive, and closing one’s eyes – even for a second.
To help manage fatigue, ensure that you sleep well prior to long road trips, share driving responsibilities with other drivers, take plenty of rest stops, eat light snacks (avoiding sugary or fatty treats) and drink water for the duration of your ride. You could even recharge with a 20-40 minute nap if you feel like you can’t stay awake and aware enough to be driving.
When you see the orange message, pull over, take a rest, switch drivers if possible and grab a cup of Joe. If you’ve ignored those warnings and get a flashing red coffee cup, it’s time for an extended break from the wheel, for your own safety and the safety of those around you.
How Lane-Keeping System helps drivers
There’s no substitute for getting the recommended hours of sleep prior to operating a vehicle, but the latest Ford tech helps drivers by alerting them when it detects a lull in the driver’s vigilance level. Complete with Driver Alert System, Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, available across the lineup, is programmed to alert drivers when their vehicle strays from the desired lane.
Lane-Keeping Alert notices when the vehicle sways too closely to lane markers, setting off a vibration through the steering wheel mimicking a rumble strip. Lane-Keeping Aid provides brief torque to the steering wheel, guiding errant vehicles back to the centre of the lane.
Lane-Keeping System also includes Driver Alert System. When the vehicle is in motion, a dashboard-mounted camera identifies lane markings,detects the road ahead and judges where the vehicle should be positioned, issuing a warning in two phases should the system detect unintentional swaying between lanes.
The initial phase consists of orange text on the dashboard and an accompanying chime. If the system continues to detect driver inattentiveness, a second phase begins with a firm dashboard warning – a red coffee cup icon – that must be manually toggled off.
Should the driver fail to acknowledge all warnings, the system can only be reset by stopping the vehicle and opening the driver’s side door – signally that the driver is taking a break from the road, or a new driver is taking over.
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