Are You Feeling Sleepy?

Are You Feeling Sleepy?

Did you know that fatigue is one of the biggest causes of road accidents on country roads? Long car rides can leave you exhausted, but there are a few ways to keep yourself alert and aware of any creeping tiredness. The more tired you are, the less you can recognise it, so it’s best to avoid getting sleepy in the first place rather than try to recover once it hits you.

Boredom is a key factor in causing driver fatigue. The boredom of a long car drive contributes to silly mistakes being made. While cruise control and climate control mean you can almost sit back, relax and wait to arrive, you won’t always be alert enough to respond quickly to an incident. Music is one way to keep you entertained, but be careful because it can also be a distraction. Don’t flick through songs, as this will take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road.

Your vehicle travels 30 metres every second you are looking at your CD player or personal electronic device.

You've probably heard that you should take a 15-minute break for every two hours that you’re driving. That’s to prevent you from getting fatigued rather than fix fatigue that you already have. Once you start to feel tired, it’s too late to fix things with a short break. Rest and sleep are the only ways to cure fatigue once it sets in. Sharing the driving duties helps, but you should still stop the car and both move around every few hours. It gets the blood pumping as well as your mind focused and ready to continue the drive.

Even if you’re taking regular breaks, you shouldn’t drive longer than 8 to 10 hours in a day. Driving can be very mentally tiring, so try not to drive any longer than your normal workday. If you were at work, you would usually have a coffee around 10am, so when you’re driving, stop for a coffee around 10am. Your body gets used to this kind of regular break, so you should make sure you’re giving it what it needs. This also applies to driving at times when you would normally be asleep. Your body clock has a surprising amount of power over how fatigued you’re likely to get, so plan your long drives like you would plan a normal day.

Remember that the traditional ways to get over your fatigue, like loud music, cold air, or overloading on caffeine, are only a very short term fix. If you’ve noticed you feel tired, you’re already fatigued. To stay safe, make sure you plan for the entire journey. 

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Distracted Driving Test

Port Adelaide V Crows

Distracted Driving Test

The Crows’ Sam Kerridge and former Port Magpies player and coach Tim Ginever each got the chance to sit in a driving simulator. Donning a pair of specially-made goggles, they were faced with street scene complete with roads, footpaths, vehicles and pedestrians.

 

After adjusting to the simulator experience, Sam and Tim were each asked to attempt to send a text message, while at the same time “driving” . Both of our volunteers found it impossible to safely drive while being distracted by their smartphone screen. They drove into simulated pedestrians on screen and crashed into other vehicles.

 

According to Sam, a lot of people might think that mobile phone use while driving is “pretty harmless” but the simulator was “an eye-opener, a bit of a shock”.

 

After crashing into an animated pedestrian on screen, Sam said: “I looked up and even at 20 kilometres an hour, I still didn’t have time to brake. It’s daunting is it? I only had to look down for a split second.”

 

Tim also crashed into a simulated pedestrian during the experience. “Unbelievable,” he said. “I just looked up and ‘bang’. Imagine trying to live with that, that’s the sobering thing about the experience – I hit a child at 40kms.”

 

If you think you might be skilled enough to safely look away from the road and at your phone instead, think again.  At 60 kilometres per hour, your vehicle is travelling at over 16 metres per second. Taking your eyes off the road for just three seconds to read a text means that you will travel almost 50 metres without looking at the road.

 

Driving is complex  and drivers need to focus on one thing: driving.

 

Get rid of the distraction. Turn your mobile off. Put it in the glove box.

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