Monday 8th October 2012
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Fatigued driving or, driving whilst very tired is one of the biggest killers on the UK roads. During the onset of fatigue, drivers will experience a drowsy, slumber and even a hypnotic state. We all know the stories that tiredness can kill. This particularly happens during night driving, very early hours of the morning and around tea time.

Still to this day, motorists are unaware of the serious symptoms and feel they can push through the sleepy exhausted state and they'll be ok.

Night time driving is often the worst with accident figures being more than ten times higher than daytime driving.

Problems associated with fatigued driving

Fatigued driving as we know is a risky business. More fatal errors occur when drivers believe they can handle the situation. This thinking puts drivers in jeopardy with the possibility of a serious accident or even death. Additionally, other motorists and pedestrians are also at risk.

Fatigued driving equates to having delayed reactions or at worse completely fall asleep at the wheel. Motorists who are drowsy can cause more road catastrophes. This is why we see on our main roads signs that encourage drivers to pull over and have a sleep. These signs say words along the lines of 'Tiredness Can Kill'. They are very much to the point!

These fatal incidents are often more severe due to the driver not being able to respond and maneuver in adequate time.

Who are the motorists that suffer with fatigued driving?

Fatigued driving can affect anyone; however, people who naturally suffer from tiredness and insomnia are more prone. Moreover, late nights, party lovers and alcohol can cause severe fatigue the next day. Driving early morning with alcohol in the blood stream from the previous night is asking for trouble. Of course, if you have not long eaten a large meal and then go for a long drive the body naturally may want to naturally shut down in order to help digest the food. This is why we recommend that drivers should not eat big meals before setting off on long journeys. If you have not had much sleep in previous nights (recommended 6 hrs sleep per night for every person) then you are also at risk at falling asleep at the wheel on a long journey.

Long distance driving, monotonous roads, long dual carriage ways and motorways are also the culprit of becoming sometimes bored and tired this lacking concentration. This is also one of the major issues to acquiring induced fatigued driving.

Driving on weathered roads such as icy, snowy, and in treacherous rain can take alot of concentration and so are contributors to fatigue and major road accidents.

Occupations that are most at risk are:

• Night works such as airport staff
• Pilots
• Airport crew
• All shift workers
• Long distance drivers
• Sales representatives
• Doctors
• Journalists

Signs and symptoms of fatigued driving

• Increased Yawning
• Boredom
• Drifting into the centre of the road
• Drifting into the side of the road
• Heavy and stiff eyes
• Driving at varying speeds
• Day dreaming
• Hallucinating
• Memory loss

Prevention for fatigued driving

Avoid driving long distances. Should you have to make a long trip, prepare for your journey well in advance. Plan your route to include a break-stop every two hours.

During your break avoid sitting down again, take a stroll, buy a coffee, do some stretching exercises and take a power nap. If you're utterly exhausted, you may want to recline the seat with the car parked, or find a place to stay overnight.

Please be aware of depending on drinking coffee or any other caffeine substances, the adrenaline boost can be very short-lived. Once the caffeine has worn off, you may end up feeling worse and even more tired before you drank it.

Motorists who usually suffer from fatigued driving ought to avoid driving during all risky hours. Try and stay away from night time driving or when you would normally be asleep. Check your headlights are focused and are aiming correcting as to avoid driving blindness with oncoming traffic. If there are other passengers who have a driving license, offer to share the driving.

Alcohol should be avoided at all times really, even a small amount can impair your driving abilities and increase tiredness especially before a long journey. If you take prescription or over the counter medication regularly, check to see if it causes drowsiness.

Avoid smoking while you are driving, if you need a cigarette stop your car in a safe place to have a smoke. When driving open the window or put the air conditioning on. Also, check your driving position and drive with the seat upright relaxed back.

Listen to some funky lively music or some wild debate on the radio. Listening to soft music will only encourage drowsiness.

Please let us know what you think about driving whilst being over tired. Do you have any experiences to share that we can post here to help other motorists?

Please comment below...