Behaviours – Fatigue

Myths and Facts About Driver Fatigue

Beware of myths surrounding driver fatigue! Drinking coffee, rolling down a window or turning up the radio are not effective solutions.

Myths

“Drinking coffee equals 2 hours of sleep and helps me travel a greater distance.”

Fact

  • Caffeine takes several minutes to act. It can make you more alert for a short time, but it cannot erase fatigue or your sleep debt.
  • The effects of caffeine vary widely from one person to another.
  • The caffeine content of drinks and food that contain some is very variable.
Useful information

Energy drinks are no better!

Sandra Veilleux remembers: “I drank energy drinks, rolled down the window, turned up the music… none of those tricks work. Not a day goes by where I don't feel pain in my ankle. I have had lots of after-effects, from a psychological standpoint as well. It's hard to get over it.”

Sandra was involved in a traffic accident caused by fatigue.

“My trick is to roll down the window to get a little fresh air. This is reinvigorating and helps me continue on my way.”

Fact

  • Rolling down a window, turning down the heating or turning up the air conditioning will only have temporary effects, if any.
  • The signs of fatigue will return very quickly…

“I am an experienced driver with good reflexes. I am able to react quickly – fatigue doesn't really affect my ability to drive.”

Fact

  • Fatigue is a biological state that neither willpower, experience nor motivation can overcome.
  • Its effects interfere significantly with driver performance, regardless of driving experience.

“Over the past years, I've gotten used to sleeping fewer hours. My body is used to it.”

Fact

  • Most people require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Our bodies do not get used to lack of sleep, even in the long term.
  • The accumulation of a sleep debt can have harmful impacts on your ability to drive and general state of health.

Testimonials from victims of accidents caused by fatigue

Videos in French only.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Le rêve brisé de Nicolas

Transcript :

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Sandra Veilleux, victime de la route (somnolence)

Transcript :

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

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

Transcript :

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Maryse Jeannotte, victime de la route (somnolence)

Transcript :

What you should remember

You cannot control driver fatigue! You cannot “decide” to feel less tired. Your body decides!

Willpower, driving experience, motivation and all the “tricks” to fight fatigue won't change anything.

Only one solution: stop!

When you start to feel the signs of fatigue, the only real safe solution is to stop to take a break to stretch your legs or take a 15 to 30 minute nap, ideally.

When you think about it, a 15-minute break in a safe spot is much better that a big crash a little further down the road!