Managing Driver Fatigue | 21/03/2019
If you are planning on a road trip this Easter long weekend make sure you read these tips on how to manage driver fatigue.

With the Easter long weekend fast approaching many people are considering it is the perfect excuse for a quick getaway. Many families pack the family into a car and hit the road. As you can imagine, the Easter Holidays period is one of the busiest times of the year on our roads.
If you are planning to drive this Easter one of the major factors in accidents on our roads is driver fatigue here are some tips to keep you and your family safe and arrive at your destination safely.
Driver fatigue significantly increases the risk of a crash. Crashes which result from fatigue are caused by a driver’s loss of alertness which is accompanied by poor judgement, slower reaction times and decreased skill levels (Beaulieu, 2005).
Fatigue related accidents also tend to be more severe in nature with these crashes three times more likely to involve a fatality than crashes which are non fatigue-related (Williamson & Boufous, 2007).
The reasons for a loss in concentration and driving ability are numerous but lack of sleep; time of day and time on task are the key contributing determinants.
If as a driver you notice any of the following symptoms whilst driving then it’s time to cease driving immediately:
  • Trouble focusing, or keeping attention
  • Head nodding, or inability to keep the eyes open
  • Forgetting the last few minutes
  • Poor judgment
  • Slower reaction time
  • “Zoning out” or becoming oblivious to your surroundings
  • Daydreaming and wandering thoughts
  • Constant yawning or rubbing your eyes
  • Drifting in the lane

Some helpful hints to avoid the onset of driver fatigue include:

  • Being well rested. Good quality and quantity of sleep.
  • Avoid if possible travelling at times in which you normally would be asleep. The alertness and    performance of drivers has been found to reduce during this time.
  • Eat small meals before driving as large meals can cause drowsiness;
  • Drink plenty of water;
  • Avoid using the heater as it can make you feel drowsy – keep your vehicle at a comfortable temperature. In cool conditions direct warmth to your feet and open the window a little to allow fresh air on your face;
  • Keep your mind active by listening to the radio while driving;
  • Avoid sedative drugs.
  • If you feel you are nodding off, stop in a safe area, stretch your legs and if possible have a 15 to 30 minute power nap;
  • If you have a passenger (licensed and authorised to drive), rotate driving every 2 hours.
  • Provide extra consideration for shift or overtime workers as these drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatigue related crash.

Fatigue Facts:

  • An individual losing just two hours of sleep will experience decreased reaction times, cognitive functioning, memory, mood and alertness. (Dobbie, 2002).
  • A person who has driven more than eight hours has the equivalent crash risk of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% (Jones & Stein, cited in Haworth,2002).

  • Driver safety experts have estimated that 20 to 30 per cent of fatal road crash fatalities would involve some aspect of driver fatigue (HORSCIOCTA, 2000)
Beaulieu, J. K. (2005). Working paper - The issues of fatigue and working time in the road transport sector. ILO publications. Retrieved April 07, 2011, from World Wide Web:
Dobbie, K. (2002). Fatigue-related crashes: An analysis of fatigue-related crashes on Australian roads using an operational definition of fatigue. Australian Transport Safety Bureau – Road Safety Research report OR 23. Retrieved April 07, 2011, 
from World Wide Web
Haworth, N. (2002). Countering Driver Fatigue: Monash University Accident Research Centre. Retrieved April 07, 2011, from World Wide Web:
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications. Transport and the Arts (2000). Beyond the Midnight Oil: an inquiry into managing fatigue in
transport. Canberra: The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. 
Boufous, S. & Williamson, A. (2006). A data-matching study of the role of fatigue in work-related crashes. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and
Behaviour, 10(3), 242 – 253.

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