Tired while driving? Read these 6 vital on-road tips

Safety is paramount when taking a road trip.

Hitting the road for a break is an Australian institution. And when taking a road trip, arriving safely at your holiday destination should be your main priority.

One thing that can impact this safety is driving while tired. Tiredness, including drowsy driving, is a contributing factor in 16-20% of all road crashes in Victoria alone.

So, we have put together these important safe-driving tips in partnership with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) that can help prevent driving tired.

Because when we wish you safe travels, we mean it.

These tips are important for all road users.

1. Pull over for a 15-minute powernap

Research indicates that even a small sleep or powernap of just 15min can significantly reduce your chances of a fatigue-induced accident. And 15min is a small sacrifice to make for a holiday or short break to remember.

2. Plan a break at least every two hours

Regular stops where you can pull over for a 15min powernap can help if you’re feeling tired, so mapping out your road trip is imperative. The TAC advises you take a break at least once every two hours, as research demonstrates that a powernap can improve performance through increased alertness and concentration ensuring your drive is a safe one.

It pays to map out your journey so you can pull over for a nap when needed.

3. Consider swapping drivers

If you have the luxury of travelling with multiple drivers, make the most of it. Swapping drivers provides an excellent opportunity to rest and recuperate. Just make sure the person you are swapping with is feeling spritely.

4. Avoid driving at times when you would usually be sleeping

It makes sense that we are at our driving ‘peak’ after a good night’s sleep. This is when we are often at our most productive in day-to-day activities, so it’s no different when it comes to driving. Therefore, the TAC advises you to avoid driving late at night or early in the morning when, typically, you would be asleep.

TAC suggests avoiding night-time or early morning driving.

5. Aim for a good sleep

Try to get enough quality sleep the night before driving, regardless if the trip is a long or short one. It pays to remember that the average adult needs 7-9 hours’ sleep each night.

6. Make use of rest stop locations along the way

Breaks can help to re-energise you, therefore reducing your chances of becoming tired while behind the wheel. So, the TAC recommends stopping for breaks in towns or rest areas along the way. It could save your life.

A break could save your life.

This stat says it all…

After 17 continuous hours awake, including time awake before driving, drivers perform as if they had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.05 – the legal limit for full licence drivers across Australia.

Remember: Once you are tired, the only cure is sleep.

For more information about avoiding driver fatigue, visit Towards Zero.

Statistical information courtesy The Sleep Health Foundation.

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