Deep in darkest winter, looking forward to the longest day – when the time between sunset and sunrise is shortest – it is easy to forget that the shortest night could leave us tired and irritable.
At least that looks like the case for many in the UK this week as the price to be paid for hot sunny days is a restless, humid night. If you are among the 1 in 3 people who survive on too little sleep, the longest day can be a mixed blessing.
Behind the wheel, too little sleep can impair driving skills, with reduced concentration and reactions slowed in ways that are comparable to drivers who have consumed alcohol. Tiredness is a cause of 1 in 5 accidents in Europe, * and 1 in 5 people admit falling asleep at the wheel. **
On motorways, overhead gantries flash warnings that highlight the dangers of pushing on, but cars also provide warnings to drivers who are starting to drift off. Our Driver Alert system uses a forward-facing camera to identify lane markings, detect unintentional sideways movements and displays a coffee cup symbol to indicate it could be time to take a break.
“There can be many pressures on drivers to keep going – everyone loves to get home as soon as they can. But the little coffee cup can be an effective reminder that the best way to get home is safely, and that may mean pulling over and having a rest, or a coffee,” said Andrej Loewen, driver assistance engineer, Ford of Europe.
We are continuing to refine the system, which was first introduced nearly a decade ago. In Europe, the updated technology will be available for Edge, Galaxy, Mondeo, S-MAX and Transit. All-new Fiesta will also benefit from enhancements.
“Ford is continually striving to improve the technologies on its vehicles that make driving both safer and more comfortable. For all-new Fiesta, we have also enhanced Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection that for the first time can help prevent collisions with pedestrians at night.” added Loewen.
* Sleepiness at the Wheel, http://www.esrs.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/publications/Livre_blanc_VA_V4.pdf
** Sleepiness at the wheel across Europe: a survey of 19 countries, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, volume 24, issue 3, 2015. Survey included 12,434 participants