Sleep deprivation can seriously impede one’s ability to drive safely with fatigue being a 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.
Ford, in this line, has developed a ‘Sleep Suit’ that simulates extreme exhaustion. The “Sleep Suit” enables wearers to experience in a safe environment the debilitating effects that tiredness can have.
The company has added special goggles to replicate microsleeps; an uncontrollable response to tiredness that can mean driving blind for 10 seconds or more, even while one’s eyes are still open.
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.
The company 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.
Source: Press Release