Driving and Fatigue

It is never a good idea to drive if you are tired, one of the main causes of accidents, are down to driver error and this includes falling asleep at the wheel. Everybody is at risk, but the ones that are more of a hazard are professional drivers, that does not just include lorry drivers, but can affect anybody that drives for a living, or spends a lot of time in traffic traveling from home to the workplace.

The causes of fatigue can include;

  • Not getting enough sleep, the average person needs an uninterrupted sleep of between 7/8 hours.
  • Health Issues, can be either a chronic problem, long term illness or a sudden illness, such as cold/flu.
  • Physical fitness, obesity, lack of exercise
  • Issues that can cause stress and tension, such as temperature inside the vehicle, and traffic jams.
  • Certain medications, some medicines can cause drowsiness, so always check.

Many drivers, unfortunately, are in that much of a rush nowadays, these could be due to the pressure of work or even family life, so will ignore any symptoms of fatigue, or will not even realise they are showing signs of fatigue.

Signs to be aware of include;

  • You have trouble keeping your eyes open.
  • Trouble concentrating on the traffic around you.
  • You yawn a lot and need to rub your eyes.
  • You miss road signs or drive past your exit.
  • You may even drift over the lanes.

They are certain things you can do to help yourself if you find that you are tired as you are driving, one of the main, and the most sensible thing to do is pull off, go to the nearest but safe and legal place.Have a power nap of 15/20 minutes, have a couple of drinks of a caffeine product and stretch your legs. While you are finding that safe place, open your window, let some fresh air in, and turn the music up.

If you find that you are constantly tired, it will be worth making an appointment with your Dr for a check-up.

Driing Helen McGowan