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How To Prevent Driver Fatigue

Aug 5, 2008
As night falls and road visibility reduces, car crashes become more common. These crashes are likely to occur because of fatigue. Either the driver falls asleep at the wheel or is so tired that they make an error or bad judgment whilst driving which can result in a terrible outcome, the worst being death.

Fatigue has hazardous effects on all countries around the world. It is perceived to be among the most potent killers on the roads of Australia, competing against the impacts of alcohol and speed. However, the actual extent of fatigue is really unknown,unlike drugs and alcohol, the influence of fatigue cannot be understood from post-mortems.

Taking measures to prevent fatigue is of pivotal importance. Changes to the design of roads, could prevent fatigue-associated crashes. The sealing of road shoulders is extremely necessary, as that will allow drivers to maintain improved control when they loose direction on the road. Putting 'audio-tactile' edge linings will enable drivers to feel and hear when the tires of their vehicle cross the line.

Another driver fatigue preventive measure is making sure that there are a sufficient number of areas for resting available as that will allow the long-distance drivers to take breaks frequently. Highways divided by buildings can limit the danger from head-on collisions and taking away roadside hazards like trees and poles can prevent collisions.

Campaigns for public education to make them understand the dangers related with driving when fatigued can play a significant role in reducing fatigue-related crashes.

There is no doubt about the fact that the best way for managing fatigue is to simply sleep for enough time. Medical researchers advise that 8 hours sleep each night is about the required amount for almost all people, even though for some, specifically those having sleep disorders, this will be tough to achieve.

Recent research conducted has demonstrated that people waking from a 10-minute nap show an immediate noticeable rise in mental performance and alertness that remains for a minimum of one hour afterwards. However, a 30-minute nap cannot produce an immediate increase similar to this (even though it does introduce a rise nearly 30 minutes after the nap is finished). Therefore, a helpful practice for drivers who are fatigued is to pull over and undergo a 'power' nap that is short in duration.

Various publications on road-safety outline other techniques for managing fatigue. One of those techniques is to prepare an action plan for managing fatigue. For example, plan rest-stops at regular intervals and set achievable travel goals. Learn about the signs related with fatigue such as blurred vision, constant yawning, slowed reactions, sore or heavy eyes, impatience, poor concentration etc. stay away from driving when it is 'normal' sleep time, i.e. for the majority of people, between midnight and 6 am.

If you are feeling sleepy, stop and undergo a nap. Between driving periods, obtain adequate high-quality sleep. Avoid alcohol completely. Following a sufficient sleep regime is crucial to prevent driver fatigue. Drowsiness and driving will not stay together. When night has deepened, a pillow can be your best companion and not a ghost-gum in the highway.
About the Author
As one of the world's most exciting and prestigious brand, Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong offers luxury passenger cars and commercial vehicles extensive choice of Vito, Sprinter, Viano, Actros, Axor and Atego to the customers in Hong Kong and Macau.
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