Almost a third of dads have nodded off behind wheel
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 11:54AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:10AM EDT
A disturbingly large number of Ontario parents say they have nodded off behind the wheel while on family road trips, a new survey finds.
According to the survey commissioned by InsuranceHunter.ca, an online insurance comparison website, 30 per cent of fathers say they have nodded off behind the wheel. Fourteen per cent of mothers have done the same thing.
The survey, hosted on the Angus Reid Forum, polled 1,003 Ontario parents with children under the age of 12 who take family road trips, and comes just as the busy summer driving season gets under way.
It found that while most parents make sure to pack plenty of snacks and entertainment for the kids on road trips, they often forget to consider the mental alertness of the driver – hence the name of the study: the Neglected Driver Survey.
For the most part, fathers do most of the driving on family road trips. In fact, almost 72 per cent of dads do all, or most of, the driving on long road trips, the survey found.
But many of these dads enter the roads already tired. Almost one-quarter of dads said they had swerved because they were tired, and almost one-third said they worried about getting their family into an accident because they were tired while driving.
The survey also found that 64 per cent of men have continued driving on a road trip when tired and 10 per cent almost got into an accident because they were tired.
The survey found that the decision over whether to pull over often have a lot to do with how happy the kids in the back seat were feeling.
Among dads, 34 per cent said they would continue to drive until the children needed a break, even if they were tired. That compared to 27 per cent of moms.
Almost half of younger parents – those between 18 to 34 years old -- said they would continue driving if they felt tired but the kids were happy. Older parents were more likely to pull over – only 29 per cent of 35 to 54-year-old parents would keep going even if they were tired if the kids were content.
Gail Robertson, Insurance Hunter’s “road safety ambassador,” says parents need to put their own needs as drivers first if they are going to be packing the kids into the car this summer.
"We know people across Ontario are anxious to get to their holiday destinations as quickly as possible, but they have to start prioritizing the driver's needs," Robertson said in a statement.
"Small changes to an individual's driving routine, such as stopping for driver breaks, switching drivers regularly, and not relying on coffee to keep the driver alert will greatly increase everyone's safety on the roads this summer."