Fatigue is not necessarily associated with long trips or heavy vehicles and it is difficult to assess. In general terms:
- 60 per cent of crashes/near misses occur within the first two hours of a journey
- incidents are more likely on the return trip
- although relatively constant throughout the year, the incidence of fatigue related crashes is higher during September to December and this phenomena is also experienced by drivers in urban areas, particularly on their journeys home at the end of the working day.
To avoid driver fatigue on long trips you should:
- plan in advance so you know where you are going to take a break
- take a break at least every two hours
- plan to stay somewhere overnight if you are going on a long journey
- share the driving and make sure you rest when you are not driving
- try not to drive when you would normally be asleep (early mornings and late nights).
You should look out for these fatigue signs when you are driving (long and short trips):
- you keep yawning
- your reactions slow down
- you feel stiff
- your eyes feel heavy
- you find you are day dreaming
- you wander over the centre line or on to the edge of the road.
If you experience any of these signs take a break.