The national news has been covering the danger of driving tired. Apparently, a quarter of fatal accidents involve a tired/fatigued driver.
Fatigue means feeling tired, sleepy, not able to concentrate, struggling to stay awake, taking micro naps whilst driving, ‘losing’ parts of the journey, nearly running into the back of other vehicles because you have not noticed they have slowed or stopped, lane wondering, missing turns, getting agitated with other road users, making poor driving decisions such as dangerous overtaking and use of speed, doing the nodding dog…..
We are not talking about feeling a little dozy first thing in the morning until we have had our first gallon of coffee to ‘wake us up’. We are talking about driver fatigue. DRIVER FATIGUE CAN KILL.
The choices we make and the actions we take all have consequences. For example, if you have been up all night preparing for a meeting and drive the next day the responsibility is yours if you are involved in an accident because you fall asleep at the wheel.
To avoid driving fatigue think about your options and take action:
Think about the time of day or night you are driving.
Think about how much sleep you have had the night before.
Think about how many hours you drive a day, week, or month.
Think about how often you take quality breaks.
Think about how necessary the journey is.
Think how realistic the travelling time you have allowed yourself to get from A to B is.
Think if it would be sensible to have an overnight stay.
If you are tired then your ability to concentrate is reduced. Your ability to scan the road and to make effective decisions is also reduced.
If you have been working all day is it sensible to then drive for several hours?
Think about what options you have to more effectively plan your journey. For example, could you travel by train, fly, use video conferencing, set off the day before and have an overnight stop over, plan in stops, travel when the roads are less congested, make sure your journey times are realistic.
If you are a manager, how much thought do you give to the hours your drivers drive on behalf of the company? What would happen if things go wrong? What support an guidance can you provide to make sure your drivers stay safe?
Learn from the mistakes other have already made. What happened and what can you do differently to avoid the same thing happening to you.
Use the experience of other’s failures as an opportunity to implement safer working practices.
Use reflection: if a quarter of all road fatalities involve fatigued drivers then ask yourself could it happen to you or one of your drivers? Now what are you going to do about it?