Feeling tired whilst driving is an event that most drivers will have experienced at some point in their lives, it usually occurs after driving for a important distance along an uneventful and boring stretch of motorway. Opening the window for some fresh air or turning the stereo up a little louder can help to break you out of the lethargy. However tiredness can rule to a serious road traffic accident because the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel.
It is believed that driving fatigue is a serious factor in many of the motorway road traffic accidents that occur each year. However, whilst it is notoriously difficult for an investigating police officer to prove that a tired driver was a contributing factor in a road traffic collision, studies at the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University show that driver fatigue truly accounts for twenty percent of the traffic accidents that occur on boring roads.
Driving after a poor nights sleep, a long day at work or following a heavy meal will make you more prone to feeling drowsy whilst at the wheel. So make sure you are well rested and only have a light snack before setting off, and ideally you should also aim to stop every two hours for a fifteen minute rest, to get out of the car and have a good stretch to wake yourself up again before driving off.
Driving long distances on the motorway in the early hours of the morning, where the light from the oncoming car lights can have a hypnotic and tiring effect, or in the middle of the afternoon are traditionally the times when a driver is most likely to feel tired, although it can truly occur at any time of the day or night. consequently it is important to know how to guard against driver fatigue, and what you need to do should you begin to experience it.
If you do start to feel tired behind the wheel open the window or turn the air conditioning to cold and direct the vent to get a blast of cold air to perk you up, you can also try and turn the stereo up loudly or start up a conversation with your passenger. However, whilst these tricks will perk you up briefly, you will need to find a safe place to stop for a rest.
Test have shown that a short 15 minute strength nap, can considerably increase your awareness and alertness levels, however before you settle down to for a quick sleep consider drinking a cup of coffee or a high caffeine energy drink first. typically caffeine takes 20 to 30 minutes to be absorbed into your system, so if you have a caffeinated drink before you fall asleep you will start to feel the affect soon after you wake, and be ready to continue with your journey.
Fatigue whilst driving can happen to any driver, no matter how experienced, at any time of day or night which is why you need to be on your guard for the early warning signs and make sure you have frequent rest stops on long motorway journeys. Otherwise falling asleep at the wheel could be the last thing you ever do.