How fatigue impacts your ability to drive
Driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving with BAC of 0.05 or higher. Know how to recognise the symptoms and what to do when they happen.
It’s not uncommon for motorists to get into their vehicle after a long day, with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) showing 37 per cent of Victorians admitting to driving while tired.
However, the risks of driving fatigued are real and deadly. Australian Automotive Association (AAA) data shows between 20 to 30 per cent of all Australian car crashes are due to fatigue.
“Drivers need to make the connection that sleepiness or drowsiness when driving, which many of us are likely to experience, does have significant potential to kill on our roads,” says Silvia Morris, Senior Instructor at RACV Drive School.
The effects of fatigue are so severe in fact that driving after 17 to 19 hours without sleep is the same as getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. If you stay awake a whole day, your ability to drive is the same as having a BAC of 0.1.
“If you are feeling sleepy, don’t drive until you have slept,” Morris says. “If you have not had enough sleep or are feeling exhausted after a long shift at work, you could ask someone else for a lift, take public transport, or use a taxi, or rideshare service.”