Driver fatigue: how to tell when you need to pull over
THERE is no cure for sleepiness, except sleep.
No amount of coffee, energy drinks or blasting music will keep you from fatigue when you are behind the wheel.
What makes fatigue particularly dangerous is that it can affect anyone regardless of their driving experience.
Fatigue doesn't always mean falling asleep at the wheel - even a brief lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences.
Driving tired means your concentration and focus become impaired, your alertness deteriorates and your reaction time is much slower.
Here are the warning signs and how to tell when you need to pull over.
Are you ...
- Finding yourself blinking more than normal? Might be time to pull over.
- Yawning? Might be time to pull over.
- Changing speed without noticing? Your concentration is impaired and you should pull over.
- Drifting into other lanes? It's definitely time to pull over.
- Struggling to remember the last few minutes of driving? Your concentration and focus are impaired, pull over.
- Having microsleeps? Pull over immediately.
Who is most at risk?
Fatigue affects everyone, but the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety revealed young drivers were most at risk with two-thirds of sleepiness-related crashes involving young adults.
Male drivers make up 75% of fatigue-related crashes and the risk of dying as a result of a fatigue-related crash in rural areas of Queensland is 13.5 times higher than the risk in urban areas.
Being awake for 17 hours has a similar effect on performance as having a blood alcohol content of 0.05.
Fatigue-related crashes are often severe and frequently occur when the driver is alone.
Most sleep-related vehicle crashes happen between 2-6am, and between 2-4pm.
75% of drivers and riders involved in a serious fatigue-related crash are men.