The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us and while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip.
For the last decade, State Insurance has been on hand to help some 67,000 Kiwi drivers stay safe on the road by providing rest stops for travellers over Easter and Labour Weekend.
The community initiative has helped create awareness around driver fatigue, which, according to the Ministry of Transport, was a contributing factor in 27% of all crashes recorded during 2010 – 2012, half of which were fatal.
Fatigue can happen long before you fall asleep at the wheel. It can affect your reaction time, your ability to concentrate and your general understanding of the road and traffic around you.
But that’s not all there is to consider. So just in time for the Easter/ Anzac break this weekend, State has launched a new app aimed at helping keep drivers safe on the road. ‘State Stay Safe’ offers State customers discounts on new tyres, Warrant of Fitness (WoFs) and more so they can keep their car roadworthy – and therefore safer – for less.
“State Stay Safe encourages drivers to check their vehicle is roadworthy at all times, not just when their WoF is due or they notice a problem with their car,” Roger said.
“Fatigue is a major factor in a high number of road accidents – we hope that benefits like a free coffee or pie will entice motorists to stop and take a break when they feel tired.
“If you notice any sign of fatigue, we would urge you to stop and get out of your car for at least 15 minutes. Find a safe place to pull over and if you need to, take a nap, but not for more than 20 minutes as this can leave you feeling groggy. And if you do sleep, wait for at least ten minutes before you drive off again to make sure you are wide awake.”
Roger also has these handy hints to share to help you keep safe on the roads:
Watch out for signs of fatigue when you’re driving, including:
• Feeling drowsy
• Sore, heavy eyes, blurred or dim vision
• Impatience, lack of concentration or slow reactions
• Wandering over the centre-line or road edge
• Droning or humming in your ears
• Sweaty hands, hunger, thirst, stiffness or cramp
• Poor gear changes
• Change in driving speeds.
Ask a passenger to help you look out for these signs too.
Tips to avoid driver fatigue:
• Plan ahead. Map out your trip and look out for places to stop along the way for frequent breaks.
• Get a good night’s sleep – eight hours the night before a journey is preferable. Napping can help, but keep it to 20 minutes and make sure you’re fully awake before you set off again.
• Fresh air helps you stay awake. Open the windows while driving.
• Rich, heavy meals and sugar make you tired. Pack some fruit and stick to light fresh food.
• Don’t go it alone. Take someone with you to help you stay alert and watch for signs of fatigue.
•Flying can make you tired. If possible, avoiding driving for several days following long-distance air travel.
•Avoid driving during hours when you would normally be sleeping or napping.
•Don’t drink and drive. Even small amounts of alcohol will make fatigue much worse, especially if you’re already tired. Pull over and take a break.