Rest and survive

Avoid fatigue while driving this holiday season.

Motorists are being warned to avoid fatigue this holiday season following an alarming spike in the number of Queenslanders driving tired.

RACQ’s Annual Road Safety Survey revealed less than 20% of drivers who felt tired behind the wheel would stop and rest if their destination was more than two hours away.

Motorists were also found to rely on false fixes such as turning music up, putting the windows down or consuming coffee or energy drinks to stay awake.

RACQ Manager Motoring Advice Joel Tucker said the false fixes would not help alleviate fatigue.

“Drivers need to remember that the only cure for fatigue is sleep,” Mr Tucker said.

“Anything else is only a short-term attempt to delay the inevitable – going to sleep.

“If you’ve got two hours or more left in your trip, you’re taking a big risk if you know you’re already tired and keep going without having a rest.”

In previous studies conducted by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, fatigue was found to be a significant contributing factor to fatal road crashes which involved long trips and long periods of non-stop driving.

Internationally, studies have suggested that between 15-30% of all road crashes were caused by drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

Mr Tucker said, “fatigue was a hidden killer” and the best safety advice for motorists over the holiday period was to plan their road trips in advance.

“It is important to plan your trip before you set out,” Mr Tucker said.

“Plan not to drive any more than eight to 10 hours in a day and plan your rest stops so you have at least a 15-minute break after every two hours of driving.

“Also, avoid driving when you would usually be asleep.”

RACQ’s tips for motorists to avoid driver fatigue:

  • Plan your trips well in advance and use RACQ online trip planner to help.
  • Get plenty of sleep before you leave.
  • Take regular rest breaks (including power naps if necessary).
  • Share the driving (if possible).
  • Eat well-balanced meals along the way.
  • Drive no more than eight to 10 hours in a day.
  • Stay somewhere overnight if you’re on a long trip.
  • Don’t continue to drive or rely on short-term remedies if you feel tired.
  • The only cure for fatigue is enough good quality sleep.