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‘Live to Run Again’

It happens way too often. Everyone’s on the way home from the dog show, the agility trial, the hunting event, whatever sport they love to do with their dogs. Then the news breaks – there’s been an accident.

Perhaps bad weather made for hazardous driving conditions, or a deer ran into the road. A driver may have been distracted by a cell phone call or was trying to retrieve a dropped item from the floor. On the other hand, maybe he or she fell asleep at the wheel.

While there is no indication that this is what happened to agility trainer Elicia Calhoun on Monday when she crashed near Tucson, Ariz., it’s a common problem for anyone who drives long distances, including professional truck drivers.

Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel actually fall into microsleep, a brief loss of consciousness – lasting only seconds. Driving while too sleepy to do so safely is known as “drowsy driving.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s website, www.drowsydriving.org, these signs indicate any driver should stop to rest: “difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids; daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts; trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs; yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes; trouble keeping your head up; drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip; feeling restless and irritable.”

The National Sleep Foundation isn’t the only organization in the United States addressing the issue.

After a post-trial accident killed Janie Callaghy, the training director of the Tail Blazers Agility Club of the Brandywine Valley PA, in 2001, some club members started the Live to Run Again Campaign to educate competitors about the dangers of driving while sleepy. Live to Run Again later incorporated as its own nonprofit organization.

Live to Run Again’s website, www.livetorunagain.org, says its goal is to “raise awareness of the dangers of driving drowsy to enthusiasts of canine competitive events. Through educational materials and activities, we help participants of the sport take active steps to drive alert and rested.”

The site offers all kinds of information about the dangers of drowsy driving, tips for making trips safely and the benefits of power naps and caffeine naps.

Tom Callaghy was at the wheel at the time of the accident that spawned LTRA. You can watch him tell his story on YouTube.

In addition to educating competitors, Live to Run Again sponsors the Audio Book Libraries and Exchange, or ABLE, program. Volunteer librarians across the U.S. and Canada who participate in canine sports offer books on tapes and CDs to an event’s competitors, who can then return them at a subsequent trial. The exchange is not designed to alleviate drowsy driving, according to the LTRA website, which states, “Listening to audio books does not work as an anti-drowsy strategy for everyone. Falling asleep is involuntary, so when you become drowsy you can’t predict or control the ‘tipping’ point from being awake to falling asleep. While driving, if you experience any of the warning signs of fatigue you must take immediate action. The best solution is to STOP and REST so you can Live to Run Again!”

That’s good advice for all of us.

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Comments
  • kayla
    kayla June 16, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    We want to thank all our audience members and the entire dog community that responded with great compassion when news of Elicia’s crash became known. All of us at Best In Show Daily wish Elicia and her dogs a speedy recovery; and we grieve alongside her over the losses. Thank you especially to Tracy Yeanish for making us aware of Live To Run Again.

    Look for more articles from us on safety, traveling with dogs, securing supplies, what to do in an accident. Based on our audience response, we think there is important information to share that could aid all of us. Kayla VP Operations Best In Show Daily

  • Monica Stoner June 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    I just did my first very long drive since my husband passed away. We’d always driven the motor home together if it was more than six hours, and this was at least fifteen. Left late, tired, and stressed, and stopped after four hours for a long sleep. Eleven hours the next day, and five the third. One extra night on the road than I wanted but far less stress than when we pushed for maximum mileage. I won’t drive after dark, into the rising or setting sun, and stop every 2-3 hours whether I need gas or want to stop, to get out, walk around, walk the dogs. The trip might be an hour longer but for the first time I didn’t arrive totally exhausted.

  • tylerjoe
    Julie L Mueller June 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Thank you to BEST IN SHOW DAILY, for this excellent article and reminder about the dangers of driving tired. Anyone of us are at risk to become a victim like Elicia. We think nothing of driving endless hours after showing all day or working all day and then driving to a show. It could happen to anyone of us, at anytime. God Bless Elicia and speedy recovery to her and the dogs.

  • Dianne McKee-Rowland June 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    For many years we have used the trick of listening to books on tape/cd to help stay alert. Often we would stop at a truck stop and offer to trade books with the longline drivers. This often resulted in another “Western” but even those are entertaining especially when you can banter with a passenger about the plot or lack thereof. It is always sad to learn that someone did not make it safely home and each story should represent a “wake up” call for the rest of us. It is not necessary for us to make the same mistakes as others have. We can learn from their experiences.
    We travel with crated dogs (OES) and no when I sell one I add a clause in our sales agreements that the new owners will either crate the pup or use a doggy seat belt for them. Dogs can be the cause of added injury or death to the vehicle occupant in the event of an accident or be injured or killed themselves.

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