How to avoid tiredness when driving

Fatigue is fatal. Feeling tired can greatly impact our day to day driving. It can even lead to a dangerous incident. Whilst we may think it will be okay to go out on the road, it is important for us to have a full understanding of what it means to be tired whilst driving. How we can best prevent it, or even knowing when to avoid driving all together.

HGV driving during late hours
Photo by Seb Creativo on Unsplash

Why do we get tired when driving?

There are various reasons why we feel tired when driving. Reasons may include:

· Lack of enough sleep
· Driving during hours where you would usually be asleep
· Driving a long distance in one day
· Driving after a busy day
· Medication

Recognising what it is that makes us tired is the first, most integral step to working out next steps and how to best avoid this in future. We need to ensure this isn’t a reoccurring problem, as driving when tired is more dangerous than we think.

How dangerous is it to drive when tired?

Any of the above factors can lead to an accident, it is not worth endangering your life or anyone else’s. It’s a common misconception to believe that we can drive when tired and that it doesn’t affect you too much – in fact, it can affect us more than we realise.

Even falling asleep at the wheel is surprisingly more common than you would believe. It was found 45% of men admitted to micro-sleeping while driving, as did 22% of women in research conducted by the BBC. Microsleep is a form of sleep that can last from 5 to 10 seconds. Something that can even happen without our knowledge! A common sign is feeling your head nod off for a split second.

It doesn’t stop there; the feeling of fatigue can pose danger to us during the accident too. The AA point out when in an accident whilst tired you are more at risk of facing worse injuries due to the lack of time to react.

When should we pull over?

Spotting common signs of fatigue can help to prevent it from becoming worse. Or even better, taking preventative steps and planning the journey ahead.

We should pull over and take a break when:

· You find yourself daydreaming
· You are disengaged from driving
· You are making mistakes
· You have a faint feeling of fatigue
· You find your eyelids are heavy

Recognising you are tired and taking action against it sooner rather than later, plays an important part in avoiding accidents.

Whilst on the way to a safe location where you can stop, you can open the window/turn on air-con and the radio as a quick, short term solution.

Late night Drive

How do we prevent tiredness when driving?

Fundamentally, we can go back to the DVLA highway code, which suggests drinking 150mg of caffeine. Caffeine can take around 20 minutes to kick in, so it recommends having a 15-minute break/ nap before setting off too.

Other beneficial options we can consider:

· Plan your journey
· Make sure you have eaten
· Stay well hydrated
· Get a good night’s sleep
· Share driving responsibility
· Don’t rush – better to be late and arrive to your destination safely

Espresso Machine
Photo by Jason Betz on Unsplash

How can we help at Paull’s Vehicle Rental?

Something we can’t forget is that we can benefit greatly from the car we are driving. Renting your car with Paull’s is a great option to prevent fatigue, whether it’s for urban driving or for long-distance motorway driving.

There are options available such as automatic vans/ cars which make it easier to concentrate on the road, ideal for city drivers. You can take great advantage of safety systems available in some cars. Our electric/ hybrid vehicles have adaptive cruise control, lane assist, forward collision warning and so much more.

Lexus interior LR

Can Self Drive vehicles benefit us?

If we look at the future of vehicles, Tesla especially, are perfecting the technology of self-driving vehicles. The vehicles are able to drive on your behalf, changing lanes and even undertaking maneuverers for you. If you’re not sold, why not check out CBS short broadcast on The road to self-driving cars.

If you are interested in renting a vehicle with features that can benefit you for those long-distance journeys, get in touch today. We may even have a self-driving car available for you.