Fighting fatigue on long winter drives

Fighting fatigue on long winter drives 5th February 2015

Of all the hazards faced by British drivers on the road, one of the hardest to perceive is fatigue. Many of us won't even feel ourselves becoming more and more tired while we're on the roads, and this can cause real issues, as tiredness can kill. 

According to road safety charity Brake, a quarter of all road accidents that result in serious injury or worse are caused by drivers who are fatigued, while the government's Think campaign said that this is a factor in 20 per cent of all accidents.

The government has also said that peak times for people having accidents related to tiredness are in the early hours of the morning and after lunch time. Brake added that a staggering 85 per cent of accidents caused by fatigue involve men, with the most at-risk group being men under the age of 30. 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has also provided a list of the most common factors that cause people to fall asleep at the wheel. These include driving long monotonous roads such as motorways for extended periods of time, having just eaten when tired, having an alcoholic beverage or driving after having worked a long shift at work. 

For those who are driving long distances, then, what can be done to ensure that you are not succumbing to the tiredness and falling asleep at the wheel?

Take a break – Before you set off, factor in some breaks to your drive. Try to stop in a suitable place for 15 minutes for every hour that you have been on the road to allow yourself to relax a little before you head off again. 

Assess the situation – If you are already tired before you have even left home, never attempt to drive a long journey. It's always better to be safe than sorry. 

Stop if you are tired – If you do feel yourself starting to get tired when you're driving, you should never try to fight it. Find the best place to stop as soon as you can and rest before attempting to drive any further. 

Posted by Danielle Barge