Survive the drive: Recognising the signs of driver fatigue

Driver fatigue is one of the top three risks to road safety, and it poses a greater danger than drink driving, so it’s important to recognise the signs of fatigue before getting behind the wheel.

According to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, more people died in 2012 due to fatigue-related accidents than drink driving accidents.

What are the Signs of Driver Fatigue?

The danger of driver fatigue is that many drivers will continue to push on driving when they are tired, even though fatigue reduces their ability to drive much like drink driving. How do you know if you’re fatigued? Here are some of the classic signs:

  • Yawning
  • Poor concentration
  • Sore/tired eyes
  • Restlessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow reactions
  • Boredom
  • Oversteering.

What are the Risks?

Driving while fatigued can dramatically increase your chances of having an accident.

According to a study by the Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research, drivers who have been awake for 17 hours are twice as likely to have an accident, while drivers who have been awake for 24 hours are seven times more likely to have an accident.

What Can You Do to Avoid Driver Fatigue?

Sleep is the only cure for fatigue, but you have options for arriving at your destination safely when you are tired:

Pull over and take a nap: While a short rest won’t be enough to completely cure your tiredness, it can make a difference
Avoid driving at night: It’s best not to drive late at night when your body wants to sleep
Change drivers: Plan to share the driving on trips to reduce fatigue
Hail a cab: Instead of driving get a taxi or use public transport instead
Get a good night’s sleep before driving: Sleep is the only way to cure fatigue.

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