On March 7, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts launched a new campaign, #JourneySafe, introduced by Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey’s Anatomy). The campaign will raise awareness around the dangers of drowsy driving.
Event speakers included actor and philanthropist, Giacomo Gianniotti, sleep expert Dr. Janet Kennedy, and Mike Mueller, Super 8 Brand Leader and Senior Vice President .
“Me being here is not random or coincidental; it’s for a real purpose,” Giacomo Gianniotti says. “10 years ago, I was in Rome. I was trying to audition as an actor in Italy. Not having a very good time at it so I was bar tending a lot in the center of Rome, and I was doing double, sometimes triple shifts, working a lot of late hours and [then] driving home. One night I was very tired. I was more than tired, I was exhausted. And the last sort of 5 miles to my destination, I fell asleep behind the wheel. And I woke up to sparks flying in my face as I grinded against a guardrail about 70 mph. I was luckily on the road at 4:30am and there was no one on the road. I escaped with my life and I was very lucky to know that I didn’t injure anyone else. The bruises I got from that accident went away but the trauma from the experience and how lucky I was to be alive and how lucky I was to not hurt anyone has remained with me to this day.”
Share more about your personal relationship with this campaign, #JourneySafe.
Giacomo Gianniotti: “It was really organic coming together. Me having a personal connection to this campaign, having been in an accident myself and being very lucky to survive that, it just seemed like a very natural fit. There’s just not a lot of awareness about drowsy driving. It’s a new term that’s been coined, so we’re just trying to raise awareness about it. Not only having people be responsible for their own, but if you have a friend and you’re out at a party or work and they just seem absolutely exhausted and they’re leaving for the day, to also reach out to that friend and tell them that they maybe should have a sleep or go stay at a hotel if home is far. That’s what the #JourneySafe campaign is all about with Super 8 by Wyndham hoping to be your roadside companion for all your journeys where you can stop and get the eight hours of sleep that you need to reach your destination safely.”
What is the most endangering misconception surrounding drowsy driving?
Giacomo Gianniotti: “Personally speaking, I think the idea of having music [turned up] loud, the windows down, smoking a cigarette or eating a chocolate bar, [or doing] some kind of action to keep your hands busy are all misconceptions; they do not keep you awake. And like Dr. Kennedy explained, if your body needs to sleep, it will sleep. It doesn’t care about windows down and the music loud, it will shut your body down, which is scary.”
How have your sleeping practices changed since your accident? What precautions do you now take after that experience?
Giacomo Gianniotti: “I was just saying that actors and people in the industry of entertainment don’t really have 9-5s and so our sleep schedules are completely messed up and we’re not able to keep a consistent sleep routine. Some days you’ll sleep for four hours, some days you’ll sleep for eight…Then 3, or 12, so it’s kind of hard to get on a sleep schedule and so you’re at a much higher risk for driving drowsy. I think for actors who work late nights and shoot late should just take a nap in the trailer or something before heading out to make sure you get a little rest, or stay at a hotel like Super 8 before you get back on the road. We often think about ourselves, but really it’s about, is it worth somebody else’s life? Somebody else who has a father, mother, sister, or brother. Once you open it up to that perspective where it’s not just about you, it’s about other people you could hurt, I think the message [is stronger].”
What can you tell us about Grey’s Anatomy and tonight’s record-breaking episode?
Giacomo Gianniotti: “Before I got the role for Grey’s Anatomy, I got a call that I had been asked for a call back for the role. I was driving from Toronto to Los Angeles, and we stayed at a lot of roadside, quick hotels like Super 8 along the way. So I remember those long journeys and drives. And because we were taking those precautions, we were able to journey safe and get to our destination. I was able to meet Shonda Rhimes and get that opportunity to play DeLuca. And years later, we’re here with this record breaking episode, which makes us the longest medical drama on TV, which is a proud moment even though I’m sort of on the smaller spectrum of my time on the show. But I am so very proud and can only imagine what it’s like to the people who have been in this from the beginning. This episode tonight, you’re going to see DeLuca’s father come into the episode and he suffers from mental illness, which we’ve learned. I’m very proud to be talking about that as well, and bringing awareness. We always want to show compassion as much as we can and educate and help people around that.”
“There’s more than 1700 Super 8 locations across North America alone,” Giacomo Gianniotti says, “and when you’re on a journey, we hope that Super 8 by Wyndham can be your roadside companion, a place where you can pull over, stop, and you get that super 8 hours of sleep that you need. So I am making a pledge to not drive drowsy, and I encourage all of you to do the same.”
For more information on the #JourneySafe Super 8 by Wyndham campaign, click here.