Did you know? 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland is caused by drivers fatigue1. Driving tired is a serious risk to you and others on the road. It is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and is a major cause of road accidents. Drivers suffering with fatigue are less alert to their surroundings and may accidentally nod off at the wheel. According to the E-Survey of Road Users’ Attitudes (ESRA)2, one in four Irish drivers say they have trouble keeping their eyes open and struggle to stay awake while driving.
We’ve compiled a list tips to help avoid drivers fatigue to keep you and others safe on the road.
Get a good night’s sleep
To avoid getting drossy at the wheel make sure you’re tucked up in bed nice and early the night before a long journey. Adults should get at least 7 hours sleep a night to function properly, so a good night’s sleep is vital.
Stop and take breaks
If you feel yourself getting tired while driving, don’t try to fight through it. Fighting sleep while driving is the same as driving while over the drink-drive limit. You should find somewhere safe to pull over and take a break.
Before you hit the road, it is a good idea to bring a flask of coffee with you, should you start to feel sleepy. Once you’ve pull over safely, have a drink of coffee to really make the most of the break. The caffeine should set in soon after. If you don’t have a flask of coffee to hand, try pull in at the nearest garage or close to somewhere that sells coffee. And don’t be fussy if they don’t serve your usual almond latte!
Have a nap
After you’ve drank your coffee, pull back your seat, get comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can!) and sleep for 15-20mins. It is recommended that you keep a blanket it the car to enhance your comfort levels, but a jumper or jacket will do. Don’t forget to set your alarm - it is only a nap you’re taking, you don’t want to get into a deep sleep! After the nap the caffeine should start to take effect and you’ll be good to hit the road again.
Get fresh air
It is important to get out of your car, stretch the legs and get some fresh air into the lungs. The fresh air will help get rid of any drowsiness you may feel.
Keep your car well ventilated
Keeping your car cool will help you stay alert while driving. Stick on the air con or alternatively, roll down your windows and get the air circulating.
Avoid driving late at night
Your body will naturally become tired late at night, especially if you’ve had a long, busy day. If possible, wait and start your journey the next morning after a good night’s sleep.
Drivers fatigue can be extremely dangerous and is 3 times more likely to result in death3 or serious injury. It is important to recognise when you feel tired behind the wheel and follow these tips to ensure you arrive at your destination safe and sound.