I think we’re all aware of this but always think we’re good enough drivers to push through. But here’s a lifehack for you: if you’re driving and you feel super tired? You should probably go to sleep.
The general advice for driving long distances whilst tired is the old, “stop and have a rest/nap” thing, or have a cup of coffee. But I think we all knew that was a bit hokey.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation the only real solution for sleepiness behind the wheel is sleep. Surprise!
David Hillman, chair of the foundation, said that the ‘rest is good enough’ assumption is an unhelpful one.
“That’s a dangerous assumption and one that could sadly cost us lives,” he explains. “Statistics clearly show that where accident risk is concerned, it is sleepiness that’s the problem. Sleep is the cure when sleepy, and rest alone won’t do.”
Another issue is the difference between fatigue and mental tiredness and distinguishing between the two.
“What many people don’t understand is that there’s two types of fatigue, the physical kind that can be relieved with a rest, and mental fatigue that can only be relieved by sleep,” he says. “It’s this mental fatigue that’s far more likely to kill or injure someone on our roads. Clearing up this confusion will save lives.”
According to the foundation, these are the signs you should be paying attention to:
- Eyes closing or going out of focus
- Trouble keeping the head up
- Cannot stop yawning
- Wandering thoughts, difficulty concentrating on driving
- Cannot remember recent driving
- Drifting between lanes, off the road or missing signs
- Very heavy eyelids
- Slow blinking
As someone who has (terrifyingly) driven through most of these warning signs, this was a bit of a wakeupcall. Particularly the eyes going out of focus thing.