Calgary

'Sleep suit' demonstrates the dangers of driving while sleepy

Not all motorists realize it, but driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This "sleep suit" drives the point home.

'Wearable technology' available to try at Calgary International Auto and Truck Show

Ford representative Tim Tubman describes how the sleep suit simulates the feeling of fatigue as Janelle Saccucci, wearing the suit, demonstrates. (CBC)

Not all motorists realize it, but driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

So Ford has created a so-called "sleep suit" to drive the point home.

Ford is letting people try on the suit at the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show this weekend at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park in Calgary.

The "wearable technology impairment suit" is part of the auto giant's program to educate young drivers about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while tired.

Fatigued driving is a major factor in up to one in five collisions, Ford says.

The suit has weights on one ankle, and headgear to create the sense of imbalance one gets when very tired. It also has remote-controlled goggles that blink to simulate the sensation of heavy, tired eyelids, Ford representative Tim Tubman says.

"Oh my gosh, my eyelids feel heavy, my body feels tired and weighted," said Janelle Saccucci, who helped Tubman demonstrate the suit this week.

"And it feels like it's difficult to think clearly because my eyelids are so heavy, my vision is compromised — and it truly feels like I've only had a couple hours of sleep.

"This is really eye-opening. It shows me that there's a real problem to operate a vehicle when I feel like this."

With files from Monty Kruger

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