On World Sleep Day, Ford ‘Sleep Suit’ Delivers A Wake-Up Call On The Dangers of Driving While Drowsy
- On World Sleep Day (Friday, March 15) Ford is highlighting the dangers of driving when tired – a major factor in up to 1 in 5 road accidents – with the help of a special “Sleep Suit”
- Research compares impairment from drowsy driving to that experienced by drink drivers. “Sleep Suit” goggles simulate microsleeps – that can cause people to drive blind
- Ford will invite young drivers to experience the “Sleep Suit” as part of the company’s free driver training programme Ford Driving Skills for Life
COLOGNE, Germany, March 15, 2019 – Most people know that a lack of sleep can make you grumpy, cause your skin to age more rapidly and affect your concentration, but sleep deprivation can also seriously impede your ability to drive safely with fatigue a being major factor in up to 1 in 5 road crashes.
According to experts, remaining awake for periods in excess of 18 hours can even impair abilities to a degree that is comparable to exceeding the drink drive limit in many countries. A Ford-commissioned “Sleep Suit” now enables wearers to experience in a safe environment the debilitating effects that tiredness can have.
“We added special goggles to replicate microsleeps; an uncontrollable response to tiredness that can mean driving blind for 10 seconds or more, even while your eyes are still open,” said Dr Gundolf MeyerHentschel, CEO, MeyerHentschel Institute, who developed the “Sleep Suit”. “I wouldn’t want to drive, or get in a car with someone, at this level of sleep deprivation and the hope is those who experience it will go away with a greater respect for the importance of sleep.”
Connected to a smartphone app, the goggles can be set to simulate the brain shutting down and the driver effectively seeing nothing ahead of them for half a second, then for increasingly longer periods, up to 10 seconds. Worn together with a specially designed cap, vest, arm and ankle bands – with a combined weight of more than 18 kilogrammes – the overall effect offers an insight into the degree to which tired drivers are impaired.
“Sobering up is the only cure for being over the legal alcohol limit to drive and sleep really is the only cure for tiredness. Pulling over when it’s safe to do so, then having a caffeinated drink and napping for 20 minutes can make a life or death difference, and if that doesn’t work then you should really find another way home,” added Dr Gundolf.
Transport accidents are the leading cause of death among young people, and in 2019 Ford is integrating training with the suit into its Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL), a free young driver training programme for 17- to 24-year-olds.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 199,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 53,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 67,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and eight unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.
About Ford Driving Skills for Life
Ford of Europe has committed millions of Euros in training through its acclaimed DSFL programme since 2013. Free, hands-on classes cover hazard recognition, vehicle handling, and speed and space management. The programme also highlights the risks posed by social media distractions.