Tips on how to gauge signs of tiredness while driving

Title: H eading away? drive smart - stay refreshed, share the load, take a break
Tiredness (or fatigue) is a contributing factor in many crashes throughout New Zealand and here in Selwyn we are no exception. Tired drivers are less alert and slower in their responses. Tiredness when driving  can cause drifting across the lane, either across the white line or off the edge of the road. When tired, a driver is also more likely to go through intersections without seeing the stop or give way sign.

When driving , it is crucial for you or your passengers to watch for the symptoms of driver  tiredness.

Signs of fatigue include:

  • Constant yawning
  • Sore or heavy eyes, blurred vision
  • Day - dreaming
  • Difficulty in remembering the last few kilometres
  • Variations in driving speed
  • Drifting  over the centre line or the road edge
  • Impatience , lack of concentration, or delayed reactions
  • Trouble keeping your head up

When any of these signs appear, it is time to pull over, take a break. If possible share the driving.

If you are on your own, get out of the car, stretch and walk and if this doesn’t work, have a power nap.

Planning to travel a long distance by car?

Before you drive:

  • Plan your trip, including travel times and rest stops
  • Avoid driving more than 8-10 hours a day
  • Make sure you have a good night’s sleep before you travel, start fresh
  • Drive at times when you are normally awake

On the road:

  • If possible, share the driving
  • Take a break from driving at least every 2 hours
  • On very long  trips, arrange to stay somewhere overnight. You will  get there safely, even if it is the next day
  • Eat well balanced meals and at your usual meal times
  • Avoid alcohol before and during your trip
  • If you are taking any medication, check with your Doctor that it will not make you drowsy

Drinking coffee, talking, listening to the radio, opening windows or using the air conditioning might help in the short term, but if you are really tired, only sleep can improve your concentration.

Safe driving is arriving safe - drive fresh