Behaviours – Fatigue

Dead Tired at the Wheel

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of death on Québec roads. Every year, it is a factor in more than one out of every five accidents that result in injury or death.

Driver fatigue: numbers to think about

Each year on average, 78 people are killed and 8,532 people are injured in an accident related to driver fatigue.

From 2013 to 2017, fatigue was a factor:

  • in 21% of fatal accidents
  • in 23% of accidents that resulted in injury or death

Microsleep or “nodding off”

Microsleep is a brief and involuntary loss of attention, lasting from a few fractions of a second to a few minutes. Your head may drop and your eyes close, or your gaze may simply become fixed.

These episodes may occur when you are tired and trying to stay awake to perform a monotonous task, such as driving on a highway. During a microsleep episode, you will not react to a dangerous situation.

Drivers most at risk

  • Heavy vehicle drivers
  • Drivers under age 30 and new drivers
  • Workers who have irregular schedules or long work days
  • Workers who work night shifts
  • Individuals who suffer from an undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder
  • Individuals whose lifestyle affects the amount and quality of sleep they get

The effects of fatigue at the wheel

  • Increased reaction time
  • Decreased concentration
  • Altered judgment
  • Memory lapses
  • Reduced field of vision
  • Increased risk of drowsiness or falling asleep

Concretely, driving while tired means…

  • Having difficulty making the right decisions on the road
  • Needing more time to react to a situation, such as the appearance of an obstacle that would require sudden braking
  • Having difficulty distinguishing things located on either side of the road

Fatigue, alcohol, drugs and medication: a deadly mix!

Consuming alcohol, medication or drugs, or a mix of these, considerably increases the risk of being involved in a fatal accident. It’s easy to imagine what would happen if we were to add a little fatigue to the mix…

Testimonials from victims of fatigue-related accidents

Videos in French only.

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Le rêve brisé de Nicolas

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Sandra Veilleux, victime de la route (somnolence)

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Claude Rivest, père d'une victime de la route (perte de contrôle)

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Maryse Jeannotte, victime de la route (somnolence)

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