Fatigue is one of the biggest factors in fatal road crashes, which is why this Easter New Zealand police is calling on Kiwis to give them a break by playing their part in keeping themselves and others safe on the road.
Research by the Ministry of Transport shows that between 2012 and 2014, driver fatigue was a factor in 13% of fatal crashes, 6% of serious injury crashes and 6% of minor injury crashes. Many people don’t know that fatigue can set in before you fall asleep at the wheel caused by lack of sleep that’s built up over time.
Rushing off straight after work to get to your holiday destination might mean you get an extra night away but it’s likely you’ll be tired from a busy week, which could increase your risk of having an accident.
Together with the spells of unpredictable weather that have affected a number of parts of New Zealand lately, it’s even more important that drivers take extra care while behind the wheel over the long weekend.
If you plan to head away to enjoy the long Easter weekend, these tips from State will help keep you and your loved ones safer on the roads:
– Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road – eight hours is preferable – and leave on the first day of your break rather than the night before.
– Plan ahead. Map out your trip and look out for places to stop along the way for frequent breaks. State insured drivers can download the State Stay Safe app where they’ll find offers for free pies and coffees aimed to encourage drivers to take a break and refresh.
– Napping can help when you take a break from driving, 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.
– If you’re headed off to a more far-flung destination, remember that flying can also make you tired. If possible, avoiding driving for a few days after 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.
– Don’t go it alone. Take another driver with you who can step in when you need rest. If you’re the only driver, take regular breaks and ask your passenger to help you watch for these signs of fatigue:
- 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; and
- Change in driving speeds.
Remember, you’ll need travel insurance if you’re planning to go anywhere outside of New Zealand; even if it’s just across the ditch. Get an online quote with State here: https://www.state.co.nz/travel-insurance.