Recent studies indicate that fatigue driving causes major accidents. Around 20% of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue. In 2013 alone, it was estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths globally.

There are several reasons why people sleep behind the wheel:

  1. Untreated or unrecognized sleeping disorders
  2. Genuine fatigue from a strenuous activity
  3. Deprived sleep for prolonged hours
  4. Alcohol- while having a beer or two may not make you drunk, it will definitely make you drowsy. Alcohol binds the GABA alpha1 receptor, which is what makes you feel ‘sleepy’. You might have a higher concentration of the receptors than normal, or you might have less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol.
  5. You may be under medication that makes you drowsy
  6. Driving for long hours without rest.
  7. Dietary deficiencies, depression, diabetes, anemia, or thyroid problems.

Drowsy or fatigue driving slows reaction times, reduces vigilance and impairs information processing.

While driving while tired is not illegal, it may have adverse effects on yourself and other road users.

According to a recent report, 60% of adults admitted to driving while tired, while 37% admitted having fallen asleep behind the wheel!

Staying awake while driving is not rocket science. A simple way to avoid drowsiness is to take a ‘power nap’ for 30minutes to an hour before embarking on a long trip, or in between the trip. Just ensure that you are parked in a safe location. This could make up for deprived sleep of fatigue.

Below are several factors that will help you prevent fatigue:

  1. Have ample rest before going on a long trip. Sufficient night’s sleep is all you may need.
  2. Keep hydrated
  3. Having a core driver helps with distraction and keeping you alert
  4. Switch with your co-driver wherever possible
  5. Take regular breaks, at least after every two hours
  6. Don’t drink alcohol before your trip
  7. Break after 8 hours of driving a day

So the next time you feel a little drowsy, don’t risk it. Fun driving!