Driver Fatigue recognise the symptoms to prevent accidents

 

 

 

What is driver fatigue? It is the general term used to describe the experience of feeling sleepy, tired or exhausted when driving a vehicle.

 

How do you recognize driver fatigue? When your eyelids start to droop and road signs become a bit blurry as you are driving along a highway, driver fatigue is taking hold of you. In an attempt to stay awake because you need to reach your destination at a required time, you may turn on the radio, sing loudly or even roll down the window in the hope that the gush of air from outside can perk you up. But what you may not know is that this sleepiness, often referred to as driver fatigue can be fatal because fatigue is both a physiological and psychological experience, and driver fatigue can severely impair judgement.

 

Driver fatigue can be dangerous because one of the symptoms is decreased ability to judge ones own level of tiredness. Other symptoms vary between drivers, but may include the following:

 

      heavy eyelids

      tired or sore eyes

      poor concentration

      yawning

      restlessness

      drowsiness

      slow reaction

      boredom

      feeling irritable

      missing road signs

      having difficulty staying in the lane

      succumbing to micro sleeps

 

It is important to realise that driver fatigue is not simply a result of the time spent driving but relates to many other factors including hours since last slept (hours of wakefulness) and time of day or night.

 

High-risk times for fatigue-related crashes are:

 

            * Night time and early morning          10 p.m. 6 a.m.

            * Afternoon                                         1 p.m. 3 p.m.

 

Fatigue-related crashes at these times coincide with the dips in the bodys circadian rhythms, which programs us to feel sleepy at night when we should be asleep and to a lesser extent in the afternoon hours. Fatal crashes caused by fatigue are more likely to occur during public and school holiday periods.

 

 

How can you prevent driver fatigue-related fatalities?

 

      Resting when fatigue sets in can help ensure that you and your family are safe during a journey. If a driver is not alert, in a split second a vacation can turn into a tragedy. So take advantage of the many rest areas strategically located all along the North-South Highway which have been built to encourage motorists to stop and take a break and hence prevent driver fatigue-related road accidents.

      Get a good nights sleep before a long journey.

      Share the driving whenever possible.

      Avoid long drives after work.

      Avoid drinking before driving.

      Pull over and stop to rest when drowsiness, discomfort or loss of concentration occurs.

      Find out whether any medicine you are taking can affect your driving.

 

Remember that once fatigue sets in sleep is the only cure.

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