You wouldn’t want to take a flight with a pilot who wasn’t in peak fitness. Similarly, if you don’t have optimal driver fitness you could be putting your life and the lives of others on the line. Driver fitness is defined as the physical and mental capabilities of the driver and how they affect safety. So how can you ensure that you are at your best before you get behind the wheel? Here are some tips on the basic things you can monitor to ensure driver safety, they can easily be forgotten and when they are it could lead to very serious consequences.
Human error and accidents
An international study has found that human error was the sole cause in 57% of accidents and was the contributing factor in more than 90%, while only 2.4% of accidents were caused solely by mechanical fault and 4.7% were because of environmental factors. Researchers said that drivers relied on perception, attention and memory, three mental processes that are human and therefore flawed. These processes are also influenced by driver fitness, drivers can make misjudgements because of competence factors such as health, speeding, alertness, and blood alcohol levels. Optimum fitness means being alert and able to make sound decisions, being on top form physically and mentally. The starting point for driver safety is to make sure that you have a valid licence and the vehicle you are driving has valid registration, you have a low blood alcohol level, you are well rested and fed and are driving within the speed limits.
The importance of vision
The importance of eyesight for driver safety cannot be overstated since it is necessary to observe road signs, road conditions and the performance of other vehicles. To ensure that your vision is up to scratch you should go for regular check-ups at your optometrist at least every two years. There are eye diseases and conditions that can affect your eyes, for example glaucoma and cataracts so monitor unusual symptoms such as tunnel vision, blurred vision, reduced side vision, or anything out of the ordinary. If you wear glasses keep the prescription up to date for driving. Your vision might change as you get older and you should monitor and make adjustments. You could avoid driving at night, for instance, if you find it more difficult to see at that time. If you have reduced side vision you can install special mirrors, and always make sure the windscreen is clean to avoid glare.
Medical conditions and medications
There are also medical conditions that can affect your driving ability and overall driver safety. Low blood pressure, for example can cause dizziness, which will affect your perception while driving. High blood pressure, however, will not affect your perceptions but may result in a medical episode such as a heart attack or stroke and lapse in driving abilities. Also the medication used to treat high blood pressure might cause symptoms that affect driving ability, so you should check with your doctor and be aware so that you can monitor the effects.
By ensuring that your driver fitness is at its best we hope that you will be able to avoid being involved in an accident. But in the unfortunate event that you do have an accident Avis Fleet will be able to assist you with our Accident Management Solution.