How to manage driver fatigue

It’s hard to imagine that driver fatigue related crashes are more likely to involve fatalities than non-driver fatigue related crashes.  Why is this?

Did you know that driver fatigue related crashes are three times more likely to involve a fatality than crashes which are non-fatigue related (Williamson & Boufous, 2007).

The reason?  Driver loss of alertness which causes poor judgement, slower reaction times and decreased skill levels (Beaulieu, 2005).

Business owners and managers of people who employ people who drive for long distances should encourage their employees to look for the following signs:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Struggling to keep your eyes open
  • Forgetting the last few minutes
  • Slower reaction time
  • ‘Zoning out’
  • Daydreaming
  • Constant yawning and rubbing your eyes
  • Drifting in your lane

Tips to avoid driver fatigue:

  • Get enough sleep.  Make sure you are well rested.
  • Don’t travel at a time when you would normally be sleeping if possible.
  • Don’t eat large meals – keep them small before you have to travel.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Try not to use your heater as it can make you feel drowsy.
  • Listen to the radio or upbeat music to keep your mind alert.
  • Avoid taking sedative drugs – always read the labels first.
  • If you are starting to nod off or close your eyes then pull over to a safe area, stretch your legs and if possible, take a 15 to 30 minute power nap.
  • If you have a passenger who is licensed and authorised to drive, then take turns driving, every two hours.