Fatigue while driving: Useful tips for long-distance drivers

22-Jul-2020

 

According to the latest statistics from the European Union, about a third of all road accidents are caused by the fatigue of those who ignore the importance of rest, when behind the wheel. The same studies have shown a grim reality: the chances of a car accident, as a direct cause of fatigue at the wheel, are as high as those generated by drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

The figures also showed that in the case of vehicles without a tachograph, working hours are not respected in 90% of cases. Most of the time, drivers who violate the regulations imposed by the legislation in force, regarding the rest intervals, do it in order to reach their destination faster. But these decisions can have fatal consequences.

 

What are the main circumstances that accentuate fatigue while driving?

In the case of long drives that are often made by professional chauffeurs, an accentuated state of fatigue can be caused by factors such as:

 

- Low speed, caused by the poor condition of national roads;

- Low speed, caused by meteorological factors: frost, snow, etc.;

- Spontaneous defects that may occur in certain parts of the vehicle;

- Stress (one of the most important factors in determining fatigue).

 

If the transport of goods is carried out at night, the accentuated state of fatigue can be caused by:

 

- Lights of vehicles coming from the opposite direction of travel;

- Quick successions of elements on the side of the road: lighting poles, trees, etc.;

- Continuous swinging, determined by the vehicle's suspensions.

 

What anti-fatigue measures must drivers follow?

If fatigue has made its presence felt, the following measures can fully contribute to avoiding unwanted road events, caused by the perpetuation of this condition:

 

- It is recommended that the driving hours do not exceed an uninterrupted interval of 8-10 hours;

- If this first recommendation cannot be taken into consideration, the drivers must respect the rest times imposed by the European laws in force;

- In case the drivers face a state of accentuated fatigue, it is recommended to stop the vehicle urgently on the right side of the road, in a place where its position cannot endanger the car traffic;

- Before a long race, drivers must take full advantage of the hours dedicated to rest and avoid consuming alcohol throughout this period;

 

“Triggers” that predict the installation of drowsiness

Frequent yawning

Through yawning, the body changes its temperature in real time. When we inhale cold air, the brain slows down the whole process of "requesting" of certain functions, including attention. Therefore, if drivers frequently yawn when behind the wheel, this signal clearly indicates the need for a well-deserved break.

 

Boredom

In the case of long-distance drivers, the monotony during the routes they take can come with boredom. To keep the appearance of a possible state of alertness, the brain uses other sources of "fun". Therefore, drivers can quickly lose focus by starting to check the phone more and more often, for example, these activities turning driving into a secondary activity.

 

Small errors while driving

These are a clear alarm signal that drivers are no longer fit to drive. Here are some examples: (1) forget to set the tachograph, (2) miss the exits on the main roads, (3) cannot keep the truck on the same lane.

 

Distorted reality

When drowsiness causes an overlap of reality with sleep, drivers may experience hypnagogic hallucinations. These are described by the appearance of fragments of dreams, which the individual perceives without sleep. If this phenomenon occurs while driving, drivers are advised to immediately pull over and rest.

 

Respect the legal rest times, imposed by the legislation in force of the European Union, thus avoiding the occurrence of road accidents that can have bad consequences, both for you and for the other traffic participants!

 

Vlad Vrinceanu, DWF - 123cargo partner