Before you set off
- Manage your sleep and alertness to make sure you are fit to drive. Do not start a long trip if you are already tired.
- Avoid driving between 2am and 6am, when fatigue is more of a problem. Be aware that people are also generally sleepier between 2pm and 4pm: if you must drive at these times, make sure you are adequately rested.
- If any medication you are taking makes you drowsy, don’t drive. It is illegal to drive if you are unfit to drive because of legal (prescription or over-the-counter medicines) or illegal drugs.
- Allow time for unexpected delays, peak traffic hours and poor weather.
- Programme any mobile devices before you leave, and turn your phone off so you aren’t tempted to answer it. Evidence shows that using hands-free while driving is more dangerous than being under the influence of alcohol or certain drugs.
During a journey
- Obey the speed limit and make sure everyone in the vehicle wears a seat belt.
- Take regular breaks – stop at least every two hours for at least 15 minutes or sooner if you feel tired. Make sure you use your breaks to relax, not to carry out other work.
- Share the driving if possible.
- Stay hydrated and eat sensibly throughout the journey.
- Keep the vehicle well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
- Poor concentration, repeated yawning, heavy eyelids, head drooping, restlessness, boredom, lane drifting, poor speed or steering control, slower reactions – these are symptoms of a micro sleep. You need to stop driving long before you reach the point of being at risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
Every week it is estimated that 200 road deaths and serious injuries involve someone using the road for work purposes. Nearly half of the deaths in our industry have been while driving. Drivers’ fatigue may be a factor in up to 20% of all road accidents and up to a quarter of fatal and serious accidents. Please take care and make sure you and other road users stay safe.