Driving is, in and of itself, a dangerous undertaking. A driver needs to be in the right mental and physical state to steer a vehicle safely. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some drivers to get behind the wheel while fatigued. Driving while fatigued risks not only the driver’s life but also the other road users.
Besides the risk of falling asleep, driving while fatigued also leads to other impairments like poor decision-making, reduced reaction time as well as the driver’s loss of situational awareness.
Here are three main reasons why drivers get fatigued behind the wheel.
Fatigue can be a symptom of inadequate rest or poor sleep habits. If a driver does not get adequate sleep prior to getting on the road or if they have been awake for too long, they may be fatigued while driving. Drivers with certain conditions like sleep apnea, depression, certain brain injuries and obesity might also experience fatigue if they drive for extended hours.
Lack of regular exercise
Long-distance driving requires concentration. To maintain focus on the road, a driver needs to take regular breaks to refresh and recharge through rest and exercise. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that long-distance drivers break for at least 15 minutes after every 2 hours on the road. This way, they can step out of the vehicle, exercise and get some fresh air before getting back on the road.
Untreated or undiagnosed health conditions can contribute to a myriad of problems. Use of certain medications (like sleep disorder medications) can lead to fatigue while driving. Other health problems that might lead to fatigue include endocrine issues, cardiovascular issues and mental issues.
Fatigue is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Find out how you can pursue damages if you are involved in a car accident that is attributable to someone else’s negligence.