In launching its latest road safety message, Fatigue: Refresh your drive, MAC is encouraging drivers to rest every two hours to prevent the onset of driver fatigue.
MAC General Manager Road Safety, Michael Cornish said that with fatigue estimated to be a contributing factor in 20%-30% of fatal and 15% of serious injury crashes, MAC’s Fatigue: Refresh your drive message provides drivers with a practical instruction to stay safe behind the wheel.
“Fatigue severely affects reaction times, concentration and the decision-making skills that are critical to driving safely,” Mr Cornish said.
“We have deliberately timed this new message launch to coincide with Easter as this is the time of year many families travel on unfamiliar roads, at higher speeds and for longer periods – increasing their crash risk and placing enormous stress on emergency service workers who have to respond.”
CFS Deputy Chief Officer, Andrew Lawson said that it may come as a surprise to many that a large proportion of the hours committed by CFS volunteers are spent attending motor vehicle crashes.
“Last financial year, CFS volunteers contributed 690,000 hours in emergency response time to South Australian communities. This included attending 2,258 vehicle related incidents,” Mr Lawson said.
“Fatigue related crashes tend to be more severe, typically involve high speeds and cause significant distress to the volunteers that are required to attend these crash scenes.”
The Fatigue: Refresh your drive message focuses on the benefits of resting every two hours, as opposed to previous fatigue messaging which focused on the negative aspects of ignoring the fatigue warning signs.
“Driving whilst fatigued can be as dangerous as driving drunk – with both activities affecting a driver’s ability to react. In fact driving fatigued can have the same shattering affect as driving with a BAC of 0.05,” Mr Cornish said.
The Fatigue: Refresh your drive message will feature across the MAC’s regional billboard network (52 billboard location across South Australia), on the regional intrastate bus fleet and will be supported by radio advertising.
MAC has the following tips for safer road use during wet weather:
- Drive to the conditions, and lower your speed in cases where visibility is poor or roads are slippery;
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front – count at least three seconds;
- Check your tyres – if they have less tread on them, the tyres cannot displace enough water, which may make the vehicle aquaplane;
- Check for wear and tear on wiper blades and replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows;
- Check your car’s lights and indicators to make sure all are working properly and always turn on headlights in wet or foggy conditions;
- Cyclists should use their lights during the day as well as at night, and wearing florescent and reflective clothing will make it easy for drivers to see you;
- Pedestrians should always cross at the lights and be aware that drivers could have difficulty seeing them
Motor Accident Commission (MAC) is reminding motorists to take extra care on the roads as children around the State return to school.
Motorists need to look out for children on the roads, some of whom may be walking or cycling to school for the first time.
Parents can help prepare their children for the journey to school by talking through the importance of being safe on the roads before they head back to school.
Parents should stress how to cross the road safely without being distracted by friends and mobile phones.
Fog lights are designed to be used in fog or other hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility.
When fog lights are used in clear weather conditions the glare from these powerful lights can make driving difficult for approaching traffic.
Did you know that it is an offence to use fog lights when not driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions and can incur a penalty of $218?
Fatigue is estimated to be a contributing factor in approximately 30% of fatal crashes and up to 15% of serious injuries. It also represents significant social and economic costs to the community in relation to road crashes.
Driver fatigue can be just as deadly as drink driving or speeding.
The problem with fatigue is that it slowly develops and drivers often don't realise they're too tired to drive safely.
So if you're on a long journey, it's important to take a break every two hours to prevent fatigue, even if you're not feeling tired.
There are a number of simple ways to avoid driver fatigue:
- Plan your trip with a good night's sleep (7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep) the night before.
- Plan not to travel for more than 8-10 hours in any one day. The longer you drive the more you must fight fatigue.
- Plan your trip to include regular breaks every two hours for 15 minutes or more.
- Plan to start your trip early in the day and try not to drive into the night.
- Don't push yourself.
- When you stop, get out of the car, stretch and walk around for a while or have a nap.
- Don't rely on coffee and energy drinks. Water will keep you hydrated.
- Share the driving if you can. Passengers can tell you if you are looking tired or showing signs of tiredness. Driving with a friend can also make it a more enjoyable trip.
- Don't overeat.
- Don't drink alcohol before driving or during rest breaks. Alcohol can make you feel tired more quickly, as well as putting you at risk of being over the legal limit.
- Check the labels on prescription medicines that may affect your alertness or cause drowsiness. If this is the case, contact your pharmacist or local GP for advice.
If you rest every two hours for at least 15 minutes driver fatigue can be avoided and you will have a safer, more enjoyable trip.