Fatigue, the silent Killer
Fatigue is a factor of modern life it seems. We have too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do them. But when lack of sleep and driving come together, the results can be disastrous.
There have been many campaigns funded over the past few years relaying the dangers of drink driving. But the same percentage of road deaths per year are accounted for by fatigue.
According to the 2012 survey by ANZPAA,
20- 30% of all road fatalities are caused by tiredness, matching drink driving at 20- 30%.
In fact, a driver who has been awake for 17 hours has a driving ability similar to that of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05, and after 21 hours, similar to a BAC of 0.15.
Not only is this a worrying statistic in itself, but research shows that the level of injury caused by lack of sleep is increased, compared with incidents otherwise induced.
As CARRS-Q states:
‘Fatigue crashes are usually severe, resulting in serious injury and death, as the driver makes no attempt to avoid or prevent the crash.’
Fatigue levels are difficult to measure, so only you can be sure when you are safe to drive, and when you become a hazard to yourself and others.
When you rely on travel for your job, the need for long stretches on the road often mean driving at
unsocial hours. These are when the driver is most at risk, with the driver 4 times more likely to cause an accident when driving between 10pm and dawn.
How to avoid it?
It’s simple. Stop.
Now this is easier said than done, but if you’re feeling tired, wind down your window for fresh air, or blast the air con to wake you up. If possible, grab a free Driver Reviver at one of the many rest stops involved in the scheme, or hit the service station for a well earned rest and coffee. Even a quick sleep will help, and 20 minutes isn’t much to add to your journey time in order to keep you out of harms’ way. There are plenty of safe places to pull up and catch a quick kip when you need to. It’s recommended to take shifts on long haul trips, but this isn’t always possible.
• Break every 2 hours
• Supply of cold air to the vehicle
• Caffeine Drink
• Good night’s sleep before journey
• 20mins power nap