[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is widely accepted that fatigue is a major contributory factor in road crashes, particularly in the early hours of the morning. Many thousands of collisions occur because of a driver’s reduced ability to respond quickly and safely if a dangerous situation arises.
If you’re making a long road journey, then it’s vital to be properly rested before you set off – and to ensure you build in time for breaks on the way.
Statistics show that those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision include young male drivers, shift workers, truck drivers and company car drivers. Around 85% of drivers who cause fatigue-related crashes are male, and more than one third of these are aged under 302.”
The Highway Code offers specific advice to reduce the risk of being in a fatigue-related collision. Tips include:
- proper journey planning
- the importance of taking a 15-minute break after every two hours or 100 miles of driving
- avoiding certain medications
- the times of day and night to avoid
- the importance of overnight stops on long road trips
It’s not only professional drivers at work who are at increased risk of a fatigue crash. If you’re making a long road journey to a holiday destination, or if you need to drive in the early hours of the morning to catch or return from a long-haul flight, then you are also at risk.
Once again, planning is key to safety. Avoid alcohol if you know you need to drive, and consider stopping somewhere rather than risk a road journey if you have had very little sleep in the preceding 24 hours.
Neil Worth is a Road Safety and Motoring Information Officer with GEM Motoring Assist, a British-based Road safety and breakdown organisation established since 1932