Tips to avoid driver fatigue

 Last updated on September 5, 2022
Driver fatigue is one of the top three contributors to deaths on NSW roads. In Queensland, 12.2% of casualties caused by crashes involved driver fatigue in 2020. While in Victoria, 37% of drivers admit to driving tired. Research conducted for Transport NSW has shown that fatigue can be as dangerous as drink driving. But unlike drink driving, there are no laws regulating driver fatigue.

Many people think fatigue is only a problem for long distance drives, but it is just as relevant for shorter trips as well.

In general, people are already tired when they get behind the wheel, either from long hours at their job, a general lack of sleep, or physically demanding tasks.

Regardless of the distance you plan to travel, make sure you have had enough sleep before driving. The early warning signs of fatigue as per the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) are listed below:

  • Yawning
  • Poor concentration or daydreaming
  • Strained and weary eyes
  • Restlessness or moodiness
  • Drowsiness or slow reaction times
  • Boredom or lack of motivation
  • Reduction in driving performance, such as oversteering and poor decision making

According to the TAC, sleeping is the best way to address fatigue. If you’re tired, make a choice not to drive, or follow TAC’s tips to prevent fatigue:

  • Get a quality night’s sleep
  • Limit your travel to under 8-10 hours each day
  • Avoid driving at night or any periods when your body is accustomed to sleep
  • Arrange to share driving with others if you’re planning a long trip
  • Avoid long drives after work
  • Plan to take regular breaks – at least every two hours at a designated rest area
  • Don't drink alcohol before or during your trip – this can significantly increase driver fatigue
  • Take a 15-minute power nap if you feel drowsy or pause travelling for the day
  • Find out if any medicine you are taking may affect your driving

Designated rest areas allow drivers and motorcyclists to park safely and walk around before continuing their journey. Service centres, petrol stations, parks, and country towns are other places you can stop and take a break from driving.

Driver reviver sites operate during holiday periods. Look out for specially marked coffee cup signs along major highways or find out where Driver Reviver sites are located in NSW and when they are operating.

Planning a long trip and want to check up on your insurance? Visit Car Insurance to learn about the different types of car insurance we offer.


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