On the tenth day of Christmas........ are you planning a long drive to get you where you want to be over the Festive Season.

Posted on 17 December 2013

If you are considering a driving holiday or will be driving to visit out-of-town relatives and friends over this Festive Season, remember the “Stop, Revive, Survive” campaign message. Fatigue poses a great threat to drivers, their passengers and other road users and planning your trip to include rest stops every two hours could save your life and the lives of others, especially when travelling in the high risk period between 10:00pm and 6:00am. Research shows that a 4 second micro-sleep, where a car is travelling at 100km/ hr, will see the driver and passengers hurtling down the road, out of control, for 111 meters. The Transport Accident Commission of Victoria research compares driving whilst tired with that of driving under the influence of alcohol saying “A driver who has been awake for 17 hours has the ability similar to a driver with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05. For someone who's been awake for 24 hours, it is akin to having a BAC of 0.1”

Country roads present a significantly higher risk of fatigue related crashes. The Roads and Maritime Services recorded 3329 fatigue related crashes in 2011. This number is double that of crashes involving alcohol. Signs of fatigue include constant yawning, drifting over lanes, sore eyes, delayed reaction and varying driving speed.

If you are driving a long distance over the upcoming Christmas and New Year period, here are a few tips:

  • Plan your trip to included rest stops and share the driving where possible
  • Have a good night’s sleep prior to heading out on the road
  • When taking a break, get out of your car and walk around. Have something to eat and drink
  • Pull over as soon as you feel sleepy (power naps can help)
  • Avoid alcohol and medicines
  • Don’t drive at night if you can avoid it – your body thinks you should be sleeping.

So to ensure you get to your destinations safely, the NRMA also have a few suggested tips to prepare you and your car:

  • Prepare your car - have it serviced and check that you're prepared for emergencies with a blanket, torch and first aid kit.
  • Prepare yourself - be rested before a long drive. Plan the trip so you share the driving and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
  • If you plan to have a drink - plan not to drive.
  • If you have children in the car - ensure they are in the appropriate child restraint.
  • If you're travelling with pets - make sure they are restrained, for everybody's safety.
  • Tow check - when towing a trailer or caravan.
  • Brush up on - good driving techniques.

Be Prepared – Travel Safe – Arrive Safe. Happy holidays!