Driver Fatigue, One of the Top Three Killers on Our Roads

Driver fatigue is described as one of the three big killers on our roads, and it is also an entirely avoidable problem. Everyone knows not to drink and drive, however, what many people don’t realise is that driver fatigue can be just as damaging as alcohol.

Under ideal circumstances, drivers should strive to get between seven and eight hours of quality uninterrupted sleep before a big drive. Experts claim that being awake for 17 hours straight reduces driver performance in the same way as having a BAC of 0.05. New and innovative technologies are being developed to try and fight driver fatigue, but nothing beats a simple good night’s rest.

Fatigue can potentially impair reaction times in emergency situations, and if an incident does occur on the road every second counts, that extra second it takes because you’re tired could be the difference between a minor road incident and a major car crash. Young drivers, shift workers, truck drivers and those with sleep disorders are considered at the highest risk of suffering from driver fatigue.

Around 20% of fatal road accidents are linked with driver fatigue, whether it’s making a wrong decision while at the wheel, or falling asleep. Experts claim that a driver who falls asleep for only four seconds while travelling at 100km/h will have gone roughly 111 metres, a lot can happen in 111 metres, especially when there is no one at the wheel.

Recognising the early warning signs could be the difference between making it to your destination in one piece. Yawning, poor concentration, restlessness, slow reaction, oversteering, drowsiness and sore eyes are all warning signs that you might be too tired to continue driving. If you’re experiencing one or more of these, it might be time to pull over for a rest, or change drivers. Ignoring the warning signs and trying to push through is not only negligent, but it’s also selfish, why should someone else pay for your poor decision in the event of an accident?

There are ways to reduce driver fatigue, learning your biological clock, stopping immediately if you feel sleepy, get plenty of sleep the night before and schedule regular breaks. Driver training and some courses can also help, they instruct drivers on the signs of driver fatigue and how to fight them, so our roads are safer for everyone. Low-Risk Driving Courses are available in a capital city near you, find out more here or contact us directly with any questions you may have here.