Once again it is Christmas Season, when our roads are full of holiday travellers with thousands packing up the family SUV/4WD and hitting the roads. Nothing new about that you say! Except Fatigue is often a passenger…
Fatigue is one of the biggest killers on our roads and just as dangerous as drink driving. In one research period, Roads and Maritime Services recorded 3329 crashes as being fatigue-related – almost double the number of crashes involving alcohol.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently found that drivers will not stop to take a break, even when they feel too tired to drive and are likely to crash. UNSW researchers tested 90 drivers, and not one of them would take a break when confronted by fatigue.
Fatigue in road crashes can include various conditions – from inattention while driving to falling asleep at the wheel. Everyone has experienced fatigue at some time while driving in the form of drowsiness, sleepiness, tiredness, inattention or exhaustion.
The main causes of driver fatigue – such as being sleepy or drowsy – include:
- not getting enough sleep
- driving at night—when you would normally be asleep
- working or being awake for long periods of time.
Fatigue is a major cause of crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities each year. Crashes involving fatigued drivers commonly involve:
- difficulty in keeping the car within a lane
- drifting off the road
- frequent and unnecessary changes in speed
- slower reaction times to dangerous situations