Internationally statistics from the CDC Injury Centre say that one in every 25 drivers report having fallen asleep at the wheel.
Distracted driving poses an even greater concern with nine people in the US alone dying every day as a result of a distracted while driving crashes.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says both of these driving habits pose a huge risk to drivers. “While many people will not get behind the wheel after a few drinks, they do not echo this behaviour with drowsy driving. In fact, many drivers may not even be aware that drowsy driving is just as dangerous, if not more, than drunken driving.
“With distracted driving, people are somewhat more aware of its danger but participate in it despite this. It just takes two seconds of looking at your cellphone for your attention to be removed from the road for 5 seconds. Yet, many South Africans still answer calls, adjust their GPS or perform many other dangerous distracted while driving behaviours”
Research has shown one of the best ways to change behaviour is to experience the negative consequences of it or, failing that, to see firsthand what the results can be. As such, as part of a safety initiative, MasterDrive has a pair of Fatal Vision goggles that do exactly that.
Now imagine you are driving down the highway at 120km/h when suddenly everything in front of you goes blank. “This is the exact feeling that Fatal Vision goggles simulate. While wearing the goggles your vision goes blank for five seconds which is equivalent, at certain speeds, to driving a football field. It shows you, while you have control of all your faculties, how your vision and attention is affected when you drive while affected by either of these states.
“We urge everyone to wear the goggles and see what these behaviours can do, for themselves. Real change on our roads will only ever happen if all drivers acknowledge that the behaviours they think are harmless can have very real, very dangerous consequences,” says Herbert.