Driver fatigue is often a factor in fatal collisions. This applies especially to people (truck and bus drivers and holiday-makers) driving long distances.
According to the Arrive Alive campaign, there are some ways to avoid driver fatigue:
- For long trips, plan in advance so you know where you are going to take a break.
- Take a break at least every two hours.
- Plan to stay somewhere overnight if you are going on a long journey.
- Share the driving - and make sure that you rest when you are not driving.
- Try not to drive when you would normally be asleep (early mornings and late nights).
Look out for these signs when you are driving both long and short trips:
- you keep yawning
- your reactions slow down
- you feel stiff
- your eyes feel scratchy and your eyelids heavy
- you find you are daydreaming
- you notice that your car is wandering over the centre line or on to the edge of the road
- Don't drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair your driving ability, it also acts as a depressant. Just one drink can induce fatigue.
- Do not strain yourself by driving for hours on end. Stop frequently (at least every 200km), get some exercise and have a light snack. If you're too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- Avoid driving at night as most people are programmed to sleep when it's dark, and sleep becomes irresistible late at night. Avoid driving during the "low" period between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- Drink coffee or an energy drink to promote short-term alertness if needed, but remember that it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream.
(Sources: Arrive Alive)
(Health24.com, September 2007)