- Know when to stop!! Managing driver fatigue.
Leave early, not dead on time
No, this isn’t a call to action by the #metoo movement. A recent question by a client on how long should people drive. This is opening pandora’s box as it is different for everyone. Based on factors such as stress, sleep debt, work hours and work environment.
Ever wondered why every holiday, the executives that work in all the offices, are on the roads with the families and that is when the crashes occur. So how is it and why is it that these clearly smart, educated people, who can smash massive hours in the office, cannot make it two hours down the road?
Ever thought as a comparison, the professional drivers, the truckies, bus drivers, courier drivers etc, who can drive from Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney to Melbourne etc. What about endurance racing drivers, 6 hours of Bathurst, 12 hours of endurance, 24 hours of Lemans….
What is different? Great question – glad you asked!!
The professional drivers have mastered the ART of Driving, by stalling speed and buying time. This slows down the input of information, giving them time to see, process, and make decisions. Everything is on their terms, it is called Proactive Driving. They have controlled actions not uncontrolled over actions, so they are constantly conserving energy.
The office workers, executives, etc, learn to drive by watching the car in front and it works in the day to day grind of traffic, school, work, and sports. Lousy for driving. Their brain is saturated with an excess of information flow and just like study, it fatigues the brain. Often postural stability is all wrong, they are using all the wrong muscles, their driving is consistent with over actions, not controlled actions. Everything is stressful. Ever wondered why road rage is such an issue in the modern age, people are on edge.
Additionally, poor techniques and poor habits mean they are trying to drive the car, physically and mentally doing all the work, creates fatigue, they crash. Bad habits, create bad outcomes, they may have been easily managed in the day to day hustle and bustle, but it does not work the moment you change the environment.
Not sure; go to Asia and drive in some of their countries, aggression rules the road and the unmanaged uncontrolled Chaos, seems to in its own weird way, create order. Then go for a drive with them over 40kph and watch the colour drain.
Managing Driver Fatigue is not just about hours, distance, speed. It is about managing the variables that suit the individual and also managing the environment and external factors that increase our workload, creating or reducing fatigue accordingly.
- Don’t be a truckie – Don’t believe you can do 8 hours a stint. Break your trip down, do some planning, and pick iconic destinations to rest and reset.
- Manage it like work, start with regular two-hour breaks. Make it part of your route plan.
- Pick your driving time, start with the hours you would normally work.
- Leave early when the day and you are fresh.
- Avoid bad weather and bad roads. Only for the reason, that the more workload, the greater the fatigue.
- If you are going to have a day of challenging conditions, plan your trip accordingly, schedule regular breaks, so you don’t feel you have to push when you are least ready or prepared for it.
- Allow time for you, to rest, reset, recuperate. Just like you practice with regular breaks at work.
- Build this into your route plan. So your breaks can be associated with great places to stop, awesome things to do and reasons to be active.
- Identify the signs of fatigue
- Actively keep your Brain Active with the Art of Driving
- Use the other links and references for positive tips to carry to your driving