Tips for avoiding driver fatigue

Posted by: Cal on 23/10/2013

Category: General

Maintaining a healthy engine and car tyres is essential for safety on the roads - but what about your own state of mind?

It's important to know that driving while tired is incredibly dangerous. Some have even likened it to the effect of driving while intoxicated - your reaction times are slower, you are less aware of your surroundings and you are more likely to make poor judgement calls.

That's why it's essential you never drive when you think you feeling fatigued, as you are much more likely to be involved in an accident.

Here are some tips on how you can avoid driver fatigue and stay safe.

Ways to avoid driver fatigue

Symptoms of fatigue include yawning, drowsiness, impaired concentration and sore and tired eyes, according to the NSW government. 

To avoid this, if you know you are a driving a long distance the next day, get a good sleep the night before. That way, you'll be as refreshed as possible before you hit the road.

With that in mind, it's also good to start a long drive in the morning, rather than late afternoon or into the evening and night. You'll be at your most awake in the earlier hours of a day, while later on your concentration and alertness are likely to have waned considerably.

You also need to pay attention to any medications you are taking. Certain medications mean you are not fit to drive at all and need to stay off the roads, while others simply have the potential to make you feel a little more tired. Always remain aware of the potential effects of any medications you're taking and adhere to their instructions.

While you're driving, keep the air temperature of your car comfortable and maybe even a little on the cool side, to keep you alert. Circulate fresh air with your air conditioning system or by opening windows.

At least every two hours take a good rest break. This will involve getting out of the car, stretching and walking around to ensure good circulation, helping to keep you wakeful.

Other tips include listening to upbeat music and sharing driving duties with another person and checking on each other.

However the biggest takeaway message is that you should stay off the roads if you are at all fatigued. Driving while tired can put your life and the life of fellow road-users at risk.