Drowsy driving just as dangerous as DUI - How to protect all road users on SA roads

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Drowsy driving
Drowsy driving

• Road safety comes under the loop again as the 2021 festive season draws near.

• MasterDrive calls on drivers not to take to the road when tired.

• Driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.

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With the festive season upon us, families will be taking to South African roads en route to their favourite holiday destinations. And though most road users are not oblivious to the fact that South Africa has one of the worst road death fatalities globally, it is still crucial to be reminded of the importance of road safety.

To reaffirm the safety of everyone on our roads this holiday season, MasterDrive warns that drivers should not take to the road if they are tired. The road safety body puts drowsy driving in the same category as driving after drinking alcohol.

MasterDrive CEO Eugene Herbert says: "There are several habits to adopt that can help drivers be aware of when they are vulnerable to drowsy driving and then prevent oneself from driving while tired. These are basic things that every driver can become accustomed to practising. In doing so, becoming better and safer drivers.

"Protect yourself against the dangers of drowsy driving by increasing your awareness levels and understanding of this driving challenge. Then implement steps to reduce the effects it can have on your driving."

Drowsy driving
Drowsy driving

Tips to prevent drowsy driving:

1. Get a good night's rest before a long trip or every night if you drive for a living.

2. Recognise the drowsy signals and respond to it immediately. Indicators of drowsiness include frequent yawning, heavy eyes and blurred vision.

3. Ensure that you do not drive for longer than two-hour stretches at a time.

4. Pay attention to what you consume. Avoid meals high in sugar and instead choose meals that provide consistent energy.

5. This includes ensuring you are well hydrated at all times, especially at this time of year.

6. Avoid taking medications that can cause drowsiness - check with your chemist.

7. If you feel drowsy while driving, it is better to stop and take a break than to continue driving (be sure it is in a safe place).

8. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can provide a temporary increase in alertness but be prepared that it can also cause a slump in energy after consumption for some people.

9. If you have a co-driver, it is better to change drivers when you start feeling drowsy rather than attempt to ignore it.

10. As an employer or fleet manager, have a policy about how to proceed regarding drowsy driving. Make sure that it is clearly set out and has practical measures for drivers to follow.

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