Tired drivers served major wakeup call

A new RACQ survey has revealed tired drivers were more likely to fight fatigue with food or caffeine rather than sleep, prompting a major wakeup call to drivers.

Media Release

RACQ’s Annual Road Safety Survey found less than 20 percent of those surveyed who felt tired behind the wheel would stop and rest if their destination was more than two hours away, while the majority would rely on false fixes.

Club spokesperson Lauren Richie said drivers opted to turning the music up, putting the windows down or having a coffee or energy drink in an attempt to stay awake. 

“There is only one remedy for fatigue and that’s rest,” Ms Richie said.

“Driving on less than five hours sleep in the previous 24 hours increases the chance of having a crash threefold – it’s just as dangerous as drink driving. 

“In fact, going 17 hours without some shut eye is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05, so your reaction time and reflexes are significantly compromised.”

Ms Ritchie warned motorists in regional and remote Queensland were at higher risk of falling asleep while driving.

“These people are generally travelling larger distances over longer periods of time and are often on the road at those times when the effects of fatigue can really start to set in, around mid-afternoon and between midnight and dawn,” she said.

“That’s why you should break up the trip by stopping for at least 15 minutes every two hours, and never drive more than ten hours in a day.”

Ms Ritchie urged all motorists to ensure they were fit to drive before they set off.

“We’re calling on everyone, particularly this Queensland Road Safety Week, to take charge of their own safety and make sure they’re up to the task of driving,” she said.

“Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road, and if you start to feel drowsy, pull over to a safe location and have a break. It could save your life.”