It’s the Transport Accident Commission's (TAC) latest campaign and the mission is to educate Victorians about the dangers of drowsy driving.
The confronting TV advertisement features a woman laying her head down on a pillow as she falls asleep. When her head hits the pillow, it changes to become an airbag inflating in a crash.
TAC chief Janet Dore said the campaign represents a shift in focus from earlier fatigue campaigns by combating the false belief that drowsy driving, estimated to be a factor in up to 20 per cent of Victorian road crashes, is only a danger on long trips.
“The campaign’s message is that from the moment you wake, sleep-inducing chemicals build up all day, causing drowsiness.
This drowsiness signals the onset of sleep, which can happen in an instant and without further warning,” Ms Dore said.
Ms Dore notes that on average, a healthy adult needs seven to nine hours of quality sleep to function at optimal levels.
Driving after a 24 hour period of no sleep is considered the same as driving with a 0.1 blood alcohol level.
“We tend to think that sleep is a choice we have control over, but it is actually a chemical and physiological process. The only way it can be overcome is by sleeping.
“In the absence of sleep, the chemicals that cause drowsiness will continue to build up in the brain until they reach a tipping point where staying awake is no longer an option.
Having a coffee, or winding down the window for some fresh air won’t help you much either. The only fix for drowsiness is a good night’s sleep.
“Too many people believed they could keep sleep at bay by winding down a window, turning the radio up or having a coffee but the best thing you can do is get a good night's sleep.”
Victorians can get involved in the campaign with the #yawnchallenge on social media. Participants could win one of five $500 luxury sleep packs..
Educating drivers about the role of fatigue and drowsiness in road trauma is a key goal of the Victorian Government’s Road Safety Strategy.
For more information visit www.roadsafety.vic.gov.au.