Don’t trust your tired self
Fatigue is a general term commonly used to describe the experience of being "sleepy", "tired" or "exhausted". Fatigue is both a physiological and a psychological experience. A person suffering from fatigue has slowed reflexes and reduced function in daily life this includes on the road, in the workplace and at play.
Driver fatigue contributes to many hundreds of deaths and injuries on our roads each year. Fatigue plays a role in up to 30% of fatal crashes and up to 15% of serious injuries needing hospitalisation. In the Strathfield LGA, fatigue is an issue of concern.
Driver fatigue can be as deadly as drink driving or excessive speeding.
Driver fatigue can severely impair judgment and can affect anyone. It is particularly dangerous because one of the symptoms is decreased ability to judge our own level of tiredness. Other symptoms vary between drivers, but may include:
- Poor Concentration
- Tired & sore eyes
- Slow Reaction
- Making fewer & larger steering corrections
- Missing road signs
- Feeling irritable
- Experiencing difficulty staying in the lane
High risk times for fatigue related crashes
- Night time to early morning: 10pm – 6am
- Afternoon: 1pm – 3pm
How to avoid Driver Fatigue
- Sleep get at least 7 to 8 hours per night, particularly before long trips.
- Eat healthy foods
- Get exercise
- Avoid driving between midnight and 6am
- Inform your manager and doctor if you are feeling tired regularly
- Plan your journeys
- Delay your trip if you are too tired to drive safely
- Take a break from driving at least every 2 hours
- Share driving where possible
- Consuming carbonated beverages may delay the onset of fatigue
- Don’t drink alcohol before or during your trip
- If using medication check with your doctor or chemist before driving
Maintain your alertness with healthy choices
- Start your day by eating some carbohydrate foods (bread, cereal or fruit) combined with a low fat protein food (low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, baked beans, a small serve of lean meat, fish or chicken.
- Carbohydrates regulate your blood sugar levels and proteins enhance alertness, mental function and the ability to cope with stress.
- Eat every two to four hours to regulate your blood sugar levels. Unstable blood sugar levels can result in tiredness and lack of energy.
Fatigue has been identified in:
- 7% of all NSW crashes
- 5% of all Sydney crashes
- 5% of all Strathfield LGA crashes
Fatigue was recorded as contributing factor in 31 crashes during 2011-2015. The highest number was for motor vehicle controllers in 30-39 age group, followed by 20-29 age group.