Arrive Alive

Driver Fatigue And Road Safety

Driver Fatigue is a Threat to All Road Users

Almost everyone knows that driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a deadly combination. However, few people seem to realize the danger associated with driving while fatigued. In fact, drivers who become drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel contribute to thousands of crashes each year.

Fatigue is a condition that affects everyone. Although typically associated with long-distance driving, fatigue can set in after a long day at work, an outing at the beach, or virtually any activity. Circadian rhythm, the body's natural rhythm associated with the earth's rotation, causes nearly everyone to be less alert or even drowsy between 1 and 5 p.m.

Emotional stress, illness, or boredom can also cause fatigue. Sun glare, a major factor in eyestrain, can contribute to fatigue. Overeating, drinking alcoholic beverages, or riding in an overheated or very cold vehicle can compound the effects.

What can you do to prevent tiredness from making you another crash statistic?

Start any trip by getting enough sleep the night before - at least six hours is recommended. Wear good quality sunglasses, avoid heavy foods and, of course, don't consume any alcohol during your trip. If you can, have another person ride with you, so you will have someone to talk to and who can share the driving. Avoid driving during your body's downtime.

Be on the alert for these signs of sleepiness: trouble keeping your eyes open, difficulty paying attention, or yawning frequently. If you notice any of these danger signs, stop periodically for a rest, and if needed, a quick nap - even 20 minutes will help. During your break, get some exercise - it helps you become more alert quickly.

The problem with long-distance driving is that many people do not know, or choose to ignore, how much driving is too much. On long trips, schedule a 15-minute break outside the vehicle every two hours or every 160 km. There is no rule to say how far you should drive at any given time, but no destination is worth risking your life. Don't overextend yourself. Determine a reasonable distance in advance, and stop driving when you reach it.

If you must stop for a rest, stop at a designated rest area or parking lot. It usually is not advisable to just pull off to the side of the road to sleep, yet there may be times when it is better to pull off the road and nap than to continue driving and chance to fall asleep behind the wheel.

Avoiding driver fatigue on long trips

  • for long trips plan in advance so you know where you are going to take a break.

  • take a break at least every 2 hours.

  • plan to stay somewhere overnight if you are going on a long journey.

  • share the driving - and make sure you rest when you are not driving.

  • try not to drive when you would normally be asleep (early mornings and late nights.

  • You should look out for these signs when you are driving (long and short trips):

  • you keep yawning

  • your reactions slow down

  • you feel stiff your eyes feel heavy

  • you find you are daydreaming

  • you wander over the centre line or

  • on to the edge of the road

If you must stop along the roadway to rest, follow these precautions:

  • Stop at a roadside rest area. If no such facility is available, make sure that you are as far off the highway as possible.

  • If it is after dark, find a lighted area to park.

  • Give yourself a little outside air, but make sure that windows are closed enough to prevent entry from the outside.

  • Lock all doors.

  • Turn on your parking lights and turn off other electrical equipment.

  • After you rest, get out of the vehicle and walk for a few minutes to be sure you are completely awake before you begin to drive again.

With compliments from www.raf.co.za

Also View

Nutrition and Road Safety

Healthy Eating, Driver Fitness and Safer Driving

Physical Fitness and Safer Driving

Driver Fatigue and Road Safety

Safety Advice for Long Distance Driving

 

We would like to advise visitors to also view these other pages:

Driver tiredness is one of the most significant threats to the safety of all road users. This is often seen as one of the "driver distractions" taking the eyes and concentration of the driver away from driving. Driver tiredness often leads to head-on collisions and rollover crashes.

On the Arrive Alive website, this is discussed on several pages with reference to Driver tiredness, Driver Fatigue and Drowsiness.

Driver Tiredness

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Driver-Tiredness

Facts about Drowsy Driving Internationally

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Facts-About-Drowsy-Driving-Internationally

Fatigue and Road Safety [Fleetwatch info for fleet operators]

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Fatigue

European Report on Fatigue

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/documents/fatigue_Report.pdf

Driver Fatigue -Who is most at Risk?

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Driver-Fatigue-Who-is-most-at-Risk

Actions for the Drowsy Driver

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Actions-For-The-Drowsy-Driver

Energy Drinks, Driver Alertness and Safe Driving

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Energy-Drinks-Driver-Alertness-Tiredness-and-Safe-Driving

Endurance Sports, Driver Fatigue and Road Safety

https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Endurance-Sports-Driver-Fatigue-and-Road-Safety

Loading...

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Lane Splitting Advice and Guidelines for Bikers from the Experts

Lane Splitting Advice and Guidelines for Bikers from the Experts

With rising fuel prices and traffic congestion more road users are looking towards alternative transport to get them to and from work. We have seen an increase in the numbers of motorcycles on our roads, but so too unfortunately also an increase in the number of bike crashes. On the Arrive Alive website,

Read More

Safe Driving and Understanding your Brake System

Safe Driving and Understanding your Brake System

Usually, we don't think much about our car's brakes. We step on the pedal and the car slows down or stops, and that's it. Consider, though, that a driver steps on the brakes tens of thousands of times in a year's worth of driving. Sometimes it's going to be a light tap on the pedal,

Read More

Safe Driving in Heavy Traffic

Safe Driving in Heavy Traffic

Introduction As urbanisation drives many to the cities and vehicle ownership increases, road users have to prepare themselves with the skills and attitude required to drive in heavy traffic much more often. Heavy traffic could be caused by numerous factors including: Usual rush-hour /

Read More

Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

Background info Road Safety requires not only driver fitness but vehicle fitness. A well-maintained vehicle not only speaks volumes about the owner but will protect the owner on the road. Many accidents caused by vehicle failure can be prevented and many stranded motorists face the preventable risk

Read More

Vehicle maintenance and safety guide to roadworthiness of vehicles

Vehicle maintenance and safety guide to roadworthiness of vehicles

Vehicle roadworthiness is one of the important requirements for the safety of all our road users. On the Arrive Alive website, we refer to contributing factors to vehicle crashes concerning three categories – driver fitness, vehicle fitness and environmental factors. With the assistance

Read More

How do I become a Paramedic?

How do I become a Paramedic?

Paramedic and EMS Training in South Africa Many young South Africans wish to become paramedics, however many do not know what the requirements, different training options are and how to access them. Most people also don’t know that there are several different qualifications available and several

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All