Thought Leadership

Wake up call for drowsy drivers

January 15, 2013
Drowsy driving? There’s an app for that.

Driving when tired is the equivalent to drunk driving according to several studies, but now a new smartphone app aims to alert drivers when they start counting sheep.

Using the cell phone’s cameras, the app can detect signs of sleepiness like head positioning, blinking rate, and yawning. The app will alert the driver when it suspects drowsiness is a problem.

“We can determine the distance between cars in front and whether a driver is changing lanes on the outside, while detecting drowsiness and distraction inside,” said Andrew Campbell, a computer scientist at Dartmouth College and co-creator of the technology.

The app can also monitor road conditions since it’s programmed to work on smartphones equipped with dual cameras that face both forward and towards the driver. It can detect dangerous patterns within the vehicle and any arising concerns outside of the vehicle, alerting the driver when it suspects a problem.A blinking light or a noise alert gives drivers a “wake up call” to prevent car accidents.

The technology could provide valuable insight for car manufacturers who could use it to better improve on-board safety standards.

The currently unnamed app is slated to launch in early 2013.

Top 25 Causes of Car Accidents: #20 Drowsy Driving

In our “Top 25 Causes of Car Accidents” list, drowsy driving earns its place as the 20th most common reason people get into a car accident. And as stated in Wired Magazine, fatigued drivingis just as dangerous as drunk driving, and exhibits the same kinds of risks and behaviors from behind the wheel.

To avoid drowsy driving, consider the following tips to reinvigorate your mind and body behind the wheel:

Get your sleep.It goes without saying, but don’t get behind the wheel without a proper night’s sleep, especially if you have a long drive ahead.

Stay cool.A warm car can easily lull you into sleep. Keep the car at a reasonably cool temperature to avoid getting drowsy.

Avoid night driving.Our bodies are not naturally nocturnal, so keep driving during the day if possible.

Get a blast of fresh air.If you feel sleep sneaking up on you, open the window and get some fresh air. Don’t assume the blast of fresh air has awakened you, though – be sure to pull off the freeway and get some good rest before you continue your drive.

If you ever feel tired, it’s important to stop driving and get rest. A caffeinated drink or loud music is not enough to keep you awake. Don’t risk the chance of a car accident – pull over and get some sleep!

Injury accident due to a sleepy driver

Despite all of our efforts to be safe, accidents happen. If you were hit by a driver and you suspect they fell asleep behind the wheel, you may be entitled to financial compensation. 

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