The first danger, underestimated by many drivers, is the lack of sleep. Paradoxically, even if one is on vacation, the excitation and breaking of rhythms usual often stay up late or get up early, which helps to increase the sleep debt. It is therefore important to prepare for its new year’s eve upstream.

Do not start the festivities in sleep debt

research conducted by the army showed that it was possible to build up a reserve of sleep in anticipation of a short night (our editions of the 24 January 2018). A few nights longer allow it to better resist the pressure to sleep that increases over a day of wakefulness. It is also possible to wedge a small nap in the afternoon to better take the impact at the end of the evening when we are going to get behind the wheel. After 18 hours awake (so 1 hour in the morning if we got up to 8 hours) the performance of the brain begin to fall.

This is why, even if we have not been able to build up a stock of sleep, it is important not to start the festivities in sleep debt. Researchers in the us have calculated that if we had slept only 5 to 6 hours the previous night, it was to double his risk of an accident, like someone who had a bac of 0.8 g/L. With less than 4 hours of sleep, this is equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 1.2 to 1.5 g/L, which is a risk of an accident tenfold.

alcohol impairs the ability to assess risk

When we fight against the fatigue, our brain may pass into the state of sleep in a fraction of a second. It is better to stop (in a suitable place and without danger to yourself or others!) and sleep or doze off, if only 20 mn, if there is still a few km to go, rather than playing with the neurobiology. Failing that, one is exposed to the effect “on/off” sudden onset of sleep the brain. The last signs before “the termination brain” are yawning, heaviness of eyelids, stiffness of neck, the constant need to change position.

alcohol is the second parameter to master. The festivities have a tendency to multiply and extend, and with them the period of alcoholic intoxication. It is not uncommon that we get back to the table with more alcohol in the blood. Because, whatever we do (there is no miracle method), the elimination will be linear.

How to calculate the dose of alcohol that has been ingested? The marker is the standard glass which contains a dose of alcohol (10 g of pure alcohol). That is to say, a flute of champagne, half a beer, a glass flask of wine, 6 cl of aperitif at 20°, 3 cl of whisky at 40° or 2 cl of pastis or digestive to 45°. It is necessary to strive not to exceed two doses for women and three for men, not to mention that the house the doses provided are often from the outset double of what they should be.

Return to the slogan of the road safety “When you like someone you remember” is not useless when one remembers that alcohol impairs the ability to assess risks. As for the driver he has any interest to listen to his family when they advised him against taking the steering wheel. The drugs are of course banned.

Finally, a virtuous behavior, both in rest and in the consumption of alcohol, does not prejudge that the other drivers will do the same. It remains, therefore, to be wary of other vehicles and pedestrians!


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