Drowsy Driver Awareness

We recently discovered that the 06th April each year in California marks Drowsy Driver Awareness Day. 

The day is to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drowsy driving and honour those who have lost their lives in driver crashes.

Although it’s something that has a dedicated day in America, we know first-hand how relevant Drowsy Drivers are in New Zealand too.

You may have heard the term ‘driver fatigue’ referred to here in New Zealand and seen road signs that remind us, if we’re tired, we need to pull over, rest and have a break from driving.  But is it really an issue?

The short answer is YES it is! Driving while tired can be as dangerous as driving while drunk. And it’s not just your own life you are putting at risk when you drive while you are tired, but everyone else on the road too.  It’s quite harrowing, but in New Zealand in 2020, fatigue was a factor in 25 deaths on the road and in 113 serious injuries.  You might think that accidents caused by fatigue are primarily for very long journeys, but many fatigue-related crashes happen on trips that are under 2 hours and within 20 minutes of home.  Driver fatigue relates to tiredness, weariness or exhaustion of the driver. Falling asleep at the wheel is an extreme form of driver fatigue, your driving can be greatly impaired long before you ‘nod off’ at the wheel.

It’s important you are well rested before your drive so you are alert behind the wheel and so you can keep yourself and others on the road safe.

Some key tips for staying alert while driving are:

  • Make sure you’re well rested before you head off
  • Play your trip
  • Take regular breaks and
  • Share the driving.

If you notice yourself starting to get drowsy, or your eyelids starting to get heavy, pull over immediately and don’t continue driving.

It really could be a matter of life or death.

For more information on this serious subject, refer to https://www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/what-waka-kotahi-is-doing/education-initiatives/fatigue