What are the Warning Signs?
There are several warning signs of fatigue; however, we often don’t understand them or
worse yet, choose to ignore them. Some of the warning signs include:
What is Fatigued Driving?
Fatigued driving is best explained as driving when you are tired or sleepy. Driving when you
are fatigued has serious consequences. First, fatigue impairs your ability to safely perform
• Being unaware of your environment or not always knowing where you are
even basic-driving tasks. It decreases reaction time, affects judgment, and can result in
Erratic driving similar to drunk driving
What Causes Fatigue?
The time of day is one factor that contributes to fatigue. Early morning, after lunch and just
• Rubbing your neck or face to wake up
after sunset are times to watch for fatigue. The most dangerous time is in the witching hours
between midnight and six in the morning. It is during these hours that most fatigue-related
• Driving off the shoulder or crossing the center line
Any of these symptoms may result in loss of vehicle control.
Irregular sleep patterns or sleep disorders also can result in fatigue. Many of us do not take
sleep seriously. In fact, some consider it a waste of time. The average adult requires from 6
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates falling asleep while driving is
Some short-term relief may be gained from varying seat position and fresh air, but they are
responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities each
short-lived and not very effective. Exercising by walking around your car is only temporary
year. About half of all traffic fatalities occur at night. When you consider the miles driven at
and may not last more than a few minutes. If you have a passenger, ask him or her to
night, that rate is closer to four times as high as for daytime driving.
remain awake and talk to you to keep your mind active. If your passenger sleeps while you
drive, you are more likely to fal asleep yourself. Whenever possible, avoid driving during
your normal sleep time. Your body has its own cycle and it may be stronger than your will
The only reliable way to combat fatigue is with proper rest. Even a short nap can do
wonders to help fight fatigue. When planning a trip, always leave extra time in case you
It’s not wise to depend on high- caffeine drinks such as coffee or soda. Avoid the use of
stimulants such as caffeine pills or “no-doze.” These stimulants may not be very effective
and are also unpredictable. When they wear off, you could go from being wide-awake to
When Reporting Suspected Fatigued or Drunk Drivers
Avoid drinking alcohol or eating large, heavy meals. They may make you sleepier.
• Location ⎯ street, highway, city, county
Early mornings and late nights at work also increase the risk of fatigue. If you are frequently
deprived of adequate rest, the effects continue to accumulate. That is why towards the end
• Vehicle description, including license plate, vehicle color, make, model and direction of
of a long work week, you tend to feel tired and are more likely to suffer from driving
fatigue, especially late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Colds can also cause driver fatigue. The symptoms of a cold may leave you tired and feeling
“run down.” Medications you take for the cold may have side effects that can leave you
Your name, location and call-back number
When taking prescription drugs, ALWAYS consult the pharmacist for drug side effects and
Remember, even over-the-counter cold remedies can cause drowsiness. Make sure you read
and understand all medicine warning labels. Remember, NEVER mix alcohol with any
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