It’s the time of year when many people visit relatives, socialise more, and travel for parties. If you aren’t accustomed to travelling late at night, it’s even more essential that you focus on your driving and stop in a safe place if you find yourself driving drowsy.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, you may believe that you can stop yourself from falling asleep when you are driving drowsy, but you can’t. You may not even know you’ve dozed off. This is more likely to happen if you are sleep-deprived, driving long distances without rest breaks, travelling at night, driving alone, riding long rural highways, taking medicine that causes sleepiness, or drinking alcohol.
Top recommendations for staying alert on drives:
Signs of sleepiness
You may be about to doze off if you:
If you find you yourself experiencing any of the above, it’s important to pull over to a safe place. Turn off your car, lock your doors, and nap for 15 minutes to 20 minutes in a busy, well-lit rest area or truck stop. If you’re seriously tired, a nap may not be enough, in which case you should stop and rest somewhere properly. Resuming your journey only when you’ve had enough sleep.
Data from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents show fatigue can be a factor in up to 20 per cent of all road collisions, and up to 25 per cent of fatal and serious crashes.
Neil Worth, of breakdown and road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist, said: “A fatigue-related crash is about 50 per cent more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel will be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision. The consequences can be devastating.”
Worth continues: “You’ll know when fatigue is affecting you. It doesn’t just take you by surprise. Resist the urge to press on and take a proper break.”