What Are Some Signs Of Being Too Tired Fatigued To Drive
Around 29% of adults in Australia admitted to driving while sleepy at least once a month, with 20% of people admitting they’ve even fallen asleep while driving.
Drowsy driving is a serious problem that doesn’t just put you in danger, but potentially everyone on the road. However, in some cases, drivers may not even realise they are too tired to drive and ignore the signs out of necessity.
What Happens When You’re Fatigued?
Being very tired or sleep-deprived affects your driving almost as much as drinking or consuming drugs. Around 20% of fatal car accidents in Australia are fatigue-related crashes. A study from the Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research found that a person who hasn’t slept for 17 hours poses the same risk of a crash as someone with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 g/100ml
Your body needs sleep to recharge and be able to perform its daily functions. Without it, you could have problems performing even simple, routine tasks, let alone driving a vehicle. It’s important to pay attention to the signs of fatigue your body is sending you to stay safe.
Here are some clear signs of fatigue that might show you’re too tired to drive, even for short stretches of road:
1. Excessive Yawning and Eye Rubbing
Some of the most common warning signs of being tired are frequent yawning and eye rubbing, while some drivers may also experience excess watering of the eyes.
These are clear signs your body might need some rest, so a long trip is definitely not a good idea, and no amount of rumble strips can counter it.
2. Slow Reaction Time
When you’re tired, you may have slower reaction times than you normally would. While this may not be a problem when you’re at home at it takes longer to get a joke, it is definitely a problem if you’re behind the wheel.
3. You’re Sleep Deprived
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just occur after all-nighters or because of insomnia. People’s bodies can have very different sleeping needs, and some may start feeling tired after staying awake for 24 hours straight, while others could experience it after only 14 hours.
Some conditions can also affect the quality of your sleep, so even if you did hit that 8-hour mark, you still may be too tired to drive. Sleep apnoea, for instance, often prevents people to fully recharge because of an irregular breathing pattern.
4. Problems Concentrating
Driver fatigue doesn’t necessarily lead to someone falling asleep at the wheel. When you feel tired, your mind can find it hard to focus. You may also experience some restlessness or irritation, which could be confused with driver aggression.
5. Making Frequent Mistakes
Even great drivers can’t overcome driver fatigue. Being too tired to drive makes you more likely to make mistakes while driving, even rookie mistakes. You may forget to properly signal, not see road signs properly, or even exhibit reckless driving behaviour.
It’s essential to develop healthy driving habits to ensure you’re always safe while behind the wheel. Mistakes can end up costing greatly, so if you want to make sure that doesn’t happen, LTrent can help. We can share the driving techniques with you that will make a safe, cautious driver. For NSW learner drivers, take advantage of the safer drivers course, which not only accounts for 20 of your logbook hours but will also teach you invaluable driving practices that will keep you safe for life.