a peek inside the fishbowl

13 Aug, 2012

Welcoming a new patron: Insurance Hunter

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Fishbowl patrons

I am welcoming a new patron today, Insurance Hunter! Insurance Hunter is a hassle-free, online insurance comparison website for residents of Ontario that provides three competitive quotes in three minutes.

By offering a simple, convenient, quick way to obtain insurance quotes, coupled with personal follow up from a qualified insurance broker, Insurance Hunter ensures customers get the best insurance coverage at the best rate.

But I am not going to write about insurance today. I want to write about road safety and give you some important information that was shared with me. But first, let me to tell you a story.

Once upon a time a lovely older couple sold their home in Orillia and bought one in Kanata in order to be closer to their family.

The movers had taken most of their belongings but the final part was still to come: driving to the new place. So they set out, two people, in two vehicles, after a long day of packing, cleaning, and the other thousand things that need to be taken care of on moving day.

Mr. GoldenYears was in the first vehicle, followed by Mrs. GoldenYears. Mrs. G was getting tired but she knew they were getting close to a larger town where they could pull over and take a break.

They got stuck in a highway construction zone just short of where the GoldenYears were planning to stop when someone suddenly knocked on her window. It was an off-duty police officer. He’d been following her in an unmarked car and had noticed her erratic driving. She was directed to a nearby motel and ordered to get some rest.

Fortunately, the motel wasn’t far. Hoping they could get a reduced room rate, the couple asked the fellow at the front desk if they could use the room for two hours.

We laugh about this story today. We like to picture the expression on the clerk’s face as two seniors ask for an hourly room rate at a budget roadside motel (“You here for a quickie mister?”), but the story could have had a very different ending.

The Neglected Driver Survey was an online study of 1,003 Ontario parents with children under the age of 12 who take family road trips, that was hosted on the Angus Reid Forum on behalf of InsuranceHunter.ca. The survey revealed that a significant amount of men (30%) have nodded off behind the wheel (compared to 14% of women); almost one-quarter of men (23%) swerved because they were tired (compared to 11% of women); and almost one-third of men (32%) said they worried about getting their family into an accident because they were tired while driving (compared to 24% of women).

According to the survey, many male motorists have driven with heavy eyelids even when they knew their attention to the road was waning:

  • 64% of men have continued driving on a road trip when tired
  • 24% of men said they have not paid close attention to the road because they were tired
  • 17% of men said they hoped they wouldn’t get into an accident and kept driving even though they were exhausted
  • 10% of men almost got into an accident because they were tired

This is a real problem.

Younger parents more also likely to continue driving while tired than older counterparts. Tired, younger parents appear to be more willing to continue driving than tired, older parents – particularly if their children aren’t in need of a break. Almost half (47%) of 18-34 year-olds said they would continue driving if they felt fatigued but the kids were happy (compared to 29% of 35-54-year-olds).

We’ve all been there though – haven’t we – on those dark roads, with hypnotic turns and blinding lights of oncoming traffic. Interestingly, the scenario I described above actually happened in the daytime. Driver fatigue doesn’t only happen at night.

So how can we make our car trips a little safer?

Get a good night sleep before hitting the road
Leaving for a long family road trip after a day of work – particularly if you have been scrambling to clear off extra work before the holiday – is not a good plan. Forget about battling the after work rush. Get a full night sleep and start fresh in the morning.

Tell your kids what to expect before you leave
Let your children know before you get in the car that a great holiday is coming, but they have to be patient on the drive as the family will be stopping when the driver needs a break – not when the children are bored or grumpy. Setting expectations about driver breaks before departure will reduce the complaints if you pull over when the kids are mid-movie or book.

Add some buffer time
Holidays should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace so get into holiday mode before you hit the road. Start by allowing some extra time for the drive. This will eliminate stress if you hit traffic, construction, or other unanticipated delays and will also allow for extra or longer rest breaks if you need them.

Plan one extended stop along the way
If you have a full day of driving, plan at least one longer rest stop. This will give both you and your children time to unwind, stretch and refresh before continuing your journey.

Stop for breaks even if you are not tired
Drivers should take a break before they feel tired. Every few hours plan a short break to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Driving for an extended period of time without breaking is dangerous for everyone in your car and surrounding cars.

Switch drivers frequently
If you are travelling with another driver, switch off every couple of hours. This will make sure the driver is always alert and also allows the vehicle to cover a greater distance safely.

Eat healthy and often
Although it is tempting to make a quick stop for fast food while on the road, a heavy burger and greasy fries will quickly make you feel tired and lethargic. Healthy snacks every few hours will give you more energy and help keep you alert longer.

Listen to your body
If your mind and body are telling you it is time for a rest, then pull over immediately. Don’t try and fight through it just to cut a few minutes off of your trip or because the children are sleeping. Turning up the music or opening the window is not an effective strategy to keep you alert.

Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you alert
It is tempting to drink a large coffee or a caffeinated pop when you begin to feel drowsy but this is not a wise choice. Although caffeine provides a temporary spike in energy, it actually reduces your energy level. A short rest break may be all you require to help you feel alert.

Anything to add? I love to hear how you deal with driver fatigue.

2 Responses to "Welcoming a new patron: Insurance Hunter"

1 | Kootnygirl

August 16th, 2012 at 1:35 pm


I shudder to think of the number of times I almost fell asleep at the wheel driving home to the East end when I went back to work after my 2nd mat. leave. I had a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old at home, waking me up several times a night, and I was up at 5:15 am in order to work the early shift.

By 3 pm, on that long, boring stretch of road, my eyelids would be drooping something awful. I remember actually hoping for red lights so that I could close my eyes – just for a second. Oy vey!

Fortunately, the worst stretch was only a few kilometers long, and I was able to survive (literally) by chewing gum and opening my windows.

2 | Alex

September 27th, 2012 at 1:46 am


I have to acknowledge that a while ago I was heavily relying on combination of fresh air from my open window + loud music + coffee when being tired.

Meanwhile I prefer simply stop and get some rest, have a short nap, or do couple push-ups (yes, some exercise can help ;)). Most things can wait, our life and health is too precious to play with…

Drive safe!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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