Steve said it right: “Relax – don’t do it.” He must have been a driving instructor in a different life because relaxing can be a very dangerous thing while driving especially when we are dealing with fatigue.
Did you know that your vehicle travels over 100m (350 ft.) during a 4 second micro sleep if you are going 100 km/h? Those few seconds of micro sleep prevent us from performing a critical task such as turning the wheel, obeying a stop sign, slowing down behind another vehicle.
Warning signs include:
1) We have trouble focusing or narrowing our attention
2) Our head may nod or we simply can’t keep our eyes open
3) We can’t remember the last few minutes
4) Our judgement is poor and our reaction time is a lot slower; we may be drifting in the lane
5) We are zoning out, daydreaming and have wandering thoughts
6) We constantly yawn and rub our eyes
If any of these symptoms occur you are likely already driving impaired and you may contribute to more than 30% of all road crashes that are believed to be caused by driver fatigue. Professional drivers and those that drive at unusual times are especially at risk including shift workers, emergency services, taxi drivers, commercial drivers and business travelers.
The causes for driver fatigue are easily made out. We haven’t had a good night sleep or simply did not get enough sleep, or we are driving at a time when we are usually asleep. Our bodies can bank lost sleep like credit card debt. It will increase and you will feel more and more fatigued until you finally pay the debt off and get some rest. And
that is the only way to prevent driver fatigue: getting sufficient rest. If you absolutely have to drive and you know you are tired, ensure you take enough breaks and catch up on your sleep as soon as possible.
Stay safe, DriveWise and arrive alive!