We all know what it feels like to fight fatigue behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is most easily avoided by getting the proper amount of sleep. However, that’s not always possible. Drivers facing a combination of long work hours as well as inadequate rest are in danger of being affected by fatigue. It’s no secret that it impairs response time and overall ability of a driver. Be aware of the driver fatigue symptoms, and know what you’re up against. The sooner you realize that you’re tired and you can get pulled over for a rest, the better.
- Frequent Yawning
- Blurry Vision
- Heavy Eyelids
- Eye Strain or Soreness
- Slow Reaction Time
- Drifting over the Center Line
- Inability to recall the last few minutes of driving
- Microsleep (several second long bursts of sleep into consciousness)
- Be sure to get enough rest.
- Avoid driving during the times that you’re feeling tired.
- Between the hours of 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. – 6 a.m. your circadian rhythms cause your energy level to drop, and you naturally become drowsy.
- Avoid medications with side-effects of drowsiness.
- Don’t drive after indulging in a large meal.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take rests when you begin to feel drowsy.
- Avoid depending on “Alertness Tricks” such as smoking, caffeine, opening the windows, and blasting the radio to keep you alert. These methods seem helpful, but their ability to keep you alert is only short-lived. This often gives drivers a false sense of security, and could end in disaster.
As we mentioned before, proper rest is the only truly effective way to combat driver fatigue. Stay well rested, and drive safe out there!