With the Easter holidays fast approaching, many of us are looking forward to getting away for a well-deserved break. Before you embark on a holiday road trip, make sure you rest up and take frequent breaks. A report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that the risk of you being involved in a car accident spikes with every hour of lost sleep.¹
Many drivers are not fully aware of the adverse outcomes that drowsy driving carries. Drowsy driving is a state in which a person becomes inattentive and feels sleepy, resulting in slower reaction time towards the objects on the road. This considerably reduces the driver’s and occupants’ safety and also puts other road users at risk. Research by the AAA Foundation found that about 20 percent of fatal accidents in the US involve a drowsy driver. In South Africa, statistics are just as severe.
Here are some signs that should tell a driver to stop and rest:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming; wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few kilometres driven; missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Feeling restless and irritable
If you notice any of the warning signs mentioned above. Stop your vehicle immediately and have a nap for 20 minutes. Sleep is the only cure for drowsy driving. Just make sure you park at a safe place.
These tips from motus.cars will help to prevent drowsy driving:
DON’T DRIVE ALONE
Having someone to talk to while you are driving will keep you awake. Plus, now you have two people keeping an eye on the warning signs mentioned above. Switch driver seats frequently to break up chunks of long-distance driving.
AVOID DRIVING AT NIGHT
You are naturally sleepier at night than you are during the day, all thanks to our biological clock. This will put you at higher risk for drowsy driving during the night. Driving in the dark is also less stimulating because there is less to see to keep you awake.
Stop regularly for breaks. Get some fresh air, grab a coffee and stretch your legs.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE WELL RESTED.
Make sure you get at least 7 – 8 hours of good quality sleep before embarking on a long road trip.
Don’t underestimate the impact that fatigue has on your driving ability!