Don’t Drink and Drive

Recent studies indicate that suffering from fatigue while driving causes more accidents than Driving Under the Influence (DUI), with around 20% of fatal road accidents involving driver fatigue. In 2013 alone, it was estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths globally.

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 to have fallen asleep behind the wheel.

There are several reasons why people fall sleep behind the wheel:

  • Untreated or unrecognised sleeping disorders
  • Genuine fatigue from a strenuous activity
  • Deprived sleep for a prolonged amount of hours
  • Alcohol abuse – 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”. This means that you might have a higher concentration of the receptors than normal or less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol
  • You may be taking medication that makes you drowsy
  • Driving for long hours without rest
  • Dietary deficiencies, depression, diabetes, anaemia, or thyroid problems

A simple way to avoid drowsiness is to take a “power nap” for 30 minutes to an hour before embarking on a long trip, or in between the trip. However, be careful to ensure that you are parked in a safe location.

Here are several ways that you can prevent fatigue while driving:

  • Make sure you get ample rest before going on a long trip – a sufficient night’s sleep is all you require
  • Stay hydrated
  • Enlist the help of passengers in staying focused and alert
  • Switch with your co-driver wherever possible
  • Take regular breaks, at least after every two hours
  • Don’t drink alcohol before your trip
  • Break after 8 hours of driving a day

The next time you feel a little drowsy, don’t risk getting behind the wheel; it’s not worth it

Stay safe on the road!