Fatigue or drowsiness, is among the leading causes of fatal traffic crashes. Typically, traffic crashes that are caused by fatigue driving are significant as there isn’t much braking involved prior to the collision.
So what should you know to escape the trap of getting tired behind the wheel?
What are the indicators of fatigue driving?
It’s easy to recognize the signs of fatigue or drowsiness, to name a few:
- Yawning repeatedly, frequent blinking and eye rubbing
- Blurry vision
- Daydreaming and having disconnected thoughts
- Heavy eyelids and involuntary closure of eyes
- Trouble keeping the head up
- Difficulty keeping a steady speed and drifting from your lane
- Feeling of numbness in the feet and discomfort
What puts you at risk of fatigue driving?
- Sleep deprivation: which is the most common reason behind fatigue driving. The adult human body needs 7-9 hours of sleep daily. So when you work or study the entire day, then head out for a party at night, you might stay over 16 hours without resting or sleeping.
Studies have shown that going for 18 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.5 gr/l - which is the legal limit of b.a.c. permitted by the Lebanese Traffic Law.
Stay up for 21 hours straight, and your driving will imitate that of a driver with a b.a.c. level of 0.8gr/l. You're legally drunk!
- Driving during your usual sleeping hours, be it at night or during your afternoon nap.
- Taking sedating medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect
- Heavy meals
- Untreated sleeping and breathing disorders
Group population most at risk
- Young people aged 18 - 29 years
- Shift work (work that takes place on a schedule outside the tractional 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. schedule, and may involve evening or night or early morning shifts.
- People with sleeping and breathing disorders
Common misconceptions about getting energized and waking up
There are countless widespread misconceptions and practices that drivers share among each other, believing they help to energize a drowsy driver. The most common perhaps being these few:
- Listening to music on a high volume
- Stopping movement
- Opening the window
Tips to prevent fatigue driving:
- Get enough sleep at night
- Avoid driving during times when your body is used to be sleeping.
- Be reasonable; collisions only needs a split second to happen. So park somewhere safe, and take a nap for 15-20 minutes; it will sure energize you and refresh your focus
- Always check medications’ side effects and avoid getting behind the wheel if they cause drowsiness
- Check with your doctor if often find yourself tired at inappropriate times
Kunhadi initiative in Lebanon
Sponsored by Picon and in collaboration with Medco Gas Stations, Kunhadi launched “Nap & Go” initiative that provide weary drivers with safe spots for resting and taking short naps.
Five spots are ready to receive tired drivers, in: Damour, Jiyyeh, Dora, Jbeil and Monsef.
Five additional spots will be installed along the Lebanese coast before the end of 2017