Driving tired impairs both your judgement and reactions times. We call it driver fatigue and it can happen any time of the day on both short and long drives and is exasperated by driving at night, for prolonged periods and after a long day or night of work. Driver fatigue can also lead to you experiencing microsleeps. Microsleeps can last from a fraction of a second, up to 10 full seconds and you cannot control them.
When asked, many drivers will admit to having experienced a microsleep whilst driving. Have you ever swerved into another lane or driven straight through a red light?
Fatigue crashes are 2 x likely to be fatal as you do not brake during a microsleep.
What are the signs I should look out for?
Keep an eye out for the early warning signs of driver fatigue. When you start experiencing more than one it’s time to pull over and rest.
- noticing your eyes closing for a moment or going out of focus
- blinking more than usual
- feeling drowsy, tired, or exhausted
- having trouble keeping your head up
- forgetting the previous few minutes of driving
- starting to ‘see’ things
- droning and humming in ears
- general tiredness
- stiffness and cramps
- aches and pains
- experiencing slower reaction times
- changing speed without reason
- fumbling for gear changes
- drifting in the lane or over lane lines
Test Your Tired Self is an initiative by the NSW Government to bring awareness to the dangers of driving tired. Jump onto their website here
It is a fun reaction-based game that gives you a result score on how tired you are!
What can I do to help prevent driver fatigue?
- Have a good night’s sleep
- Avoid driving late at night or predawn if possible
- If feeling drowsy, pull over and have a 20 minute nap
- Remember to stop for a rest every 2 hours
- And share the driving
For more reading: QLD Govt