Don’t let driver fatigue turn you into a road statistic

Driver fatigue contributes to thousands of road accidents in South Africa every year, but few road users are aware of the dangerous risks posed by this condition. What can drivers do to be more aware of this problem and counteract it?

What causes driver fatigue?

Long-distance drivers typically suffer more from driver fatigue, but because  there are many contributory factors, it can affect every driver on the road. Driver fatigue can be caused by intense periods of work, exercise or activity, stress, sickness, boredom, overeating, extreme cold or hot temperatures in the vehicle, and alcohol consumption.

Symptoms of driver fatigue

If you have difficulty focusing, find yourself daydreaming or thinking disconnected thoughts, it’s time to take a break from driving. Rubbing your eyes and yawning are also indications of tiredness. And if you have trouble keeping your head up, find yourself drifting out of your lane or bumping the rumble strips on the side of the road, then you’re definitely overdue for a break. Don’t wait until you are nodding off, even being in a drowsy state inhibits your reactions as a driver.

Tips for preventing driver fatigue:

  • Charge your battery: Make sure you get sufficient sleep the night before you begin a trip. You could also consider taking a pre-trip nap or even pulling off somewhere safe along your journey for a 15-minute snooze.
  • Fuel yourself: Pack healthy, nutritious food and snacks and try to avoid the junk food that’s usually available at road stops. Ensure that you stay hydrated – not drinking enough water can leave you feeling tired and cranky. Coffee is an old favourite for keeping drivers awake and chewing on gum has also been found to increase blood circulation and alertness.
  • Get into the right gear: For optimal driving, make sure you have a suitable atmosphere inside your vehicle. Use essential peppermint oil for a natural boost if you’re feeling drowsy. Sitting up straight will help to keep you in the right frame of mind for driver safety, as will playing some upbeat music.
  • Pro tip:With Avis Fleet’s Telematics, you can receive alerts when drivers are doing more than three hours at a stretch and are at risk of driver fatigue.

Avis Fleet has a comprehensive offering that enhances every aspect of fleet management. We have solutions that help customers with everything from vehicle acquisition to maintenance, fleet management telematics, and making provisions for accidents. Find out about our fleet solutions.

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