Fatigue is a natural state that can transpire long before you fall asleep while driving. It has a negative influence on your response time, your ability to focus and your overall understanding of the road and traffic around you. What are the four major causes of fatigue?
- Sleep loss – this is the most basic reason for fatigue. The average human needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. If you do not get your daily “quota,” it is likely to make you feel tired. A lack of sleep may accumulate over time (“sleep debt”), so make sure you sleep enough and regularly.
- Time spent driving – the longer people drive without resting, the greater their level of tiredness. In addition, the time spent on other activities, such as work or school, can increase fatigue and influence your driving later on. Before you go on a long trip, rest well, then take regular breaks while on the road.
- Circadian rhythms – the biological clock in our brain naturally determines when we feel sleepy. Circadian rhythms program us to feel most sleepy between 3am and 5am, with a secondary peak in sleepiness between 3pm and 5pm. If you want to avoid fatigue, plan your long distance trips accordingly.
- Monotony – boredom is a close cousin of fatigue. While planning your trip, try to choose picturesque scenery, listen to good music or audiobooks, or invite a companion to join you, so that you can have an interesting conversation while driving. Seeing the same, endless landscape with no stimulation can lull you into sleepiness.
Driving While Tired
Fatigue-related collisions are most likely to happen in the early morning or mid-afternoon. The risk of grave or fatal injuries increases then due to drivers’ slower reaction time. If a crash does happen, remember to visit our Auto Clinic in Hialeah after taking the initial on-scene steps. It is important to be assessed by a medical professional who can evaluate and diagnose the extent of your injuries.
Driver Fatigue Symptoms
Symptoms of driver fatigue are similar to your usual tiredness. You may yawn, daydream, feel irritable or a little numb. While driving fatigued, you can additionally notice that you drift in and out of your lane, have trouble maintaining a constant speed, misjudge traffic conditions or not remember the last few miles of your trip.
Driver fatigue remedies
Apart from the advice above to avoid driver fatigue, you should:
- Stop at intervals of at least 2 hours
- Get out of the vehicle frequently; Stretch your body and/or walk around a bit
- Have small meals or snacks at rest stops
- Switch drivers, if possible, and rest/sleep when not driving
- Avoid driving during times you usually sleep
- Not drink alcohol
Please, share this article with everyone you care about. Remember: Fatigued driving kills and injures thousands of people each year. In order to avoid complications after a crash, make sure your injuries have been evaluated by a medical professional at our Auto Clinic in Hialeah.