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Planning A Safer Journey

Many people drive long Journey’s as part of their working day. Tiredness and Driver fatigue are found to be main factors associated with road traffic collisions.

These mostly occur:

  • on long journeys
  • between 2am and 6am
  • between 2pm and 4pm. Especially after lunch times
  • after having less sleep than normal
  • after having just one alcoholic drink
  • if taking medication that causes drowsiness
  • on journeys home after night shifts 

Fatigue reduces a driver’s Reaction times, alertness, concentration and decision making abilities. Drivers who drive under these conditions are more likely be involved in a crash. And these crashes are likely to be serious.

Planning a Journey:
Following a planned journey reduces the risk of drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel. A Planned Journey is safer and far more efficient. It saves you time, stress and money!

Mode of Transport:
Where possible, make use of the public transport system for long journey, such as train, bus, coach, Luas or Air.

Time:
Estimate how long a journey will take, including toilet & rest breaks and unexpected delays such as roadworks or road incidents. Avoid driving in the early hours of the morning, when you have had less sleep than normal, or in mid afternoon when you have had your lunch. These are peak times for fatigue related incidents.

Plan your Route:
Write up a route plan that you can easily read. Check for roadworks or likely traffic jams. If possible, plan an alternative route to avoid these hold ups. Include rest areas & times in your journey plan and allow for toilet breaks. You should stop for a rest every two hours, or sooner if feeling tired. Rests should be no less than 15 to 20 minutes.

Overnight Stops:
Consider breaking your journey with an overnight stop. If you are catching an early flight or returning from abroad, make this part of your plan.

Second Driver:
If possible, share the driving with a second driver

Sleep:
Avoid staying up too late or reducing your normal sleep before long journeys.

Alcohol:
Avoid alcohol if you intend on driving whatsoever.

Medication:
If you are taking any medication, check whether it causes drowsiness. If it does, ask your GP for an alternative that does not cause drowsiness.

Check Your Vehicle:
Before you start your journey, please ensure that your vehicle is in good working order, check all your tyres, lights & windscreen wipers.

Fighting Tiredness at the Wheel
Many drivers try to stay awake by turning up the air conditioning, winding down the window or even turning up the radio. These will not stop you from being tired. It may only provide you with a few moments of distraction, until you find a safe place to stop for a rest.

Never Fight Tiredness at the Wheel!

If You Feel Tired…

  • Find somewhere safe to stop. Not the Hard Shoulder or on a Motorway
  • Drink one or two cups of strong coffee.
  • Take a nap for about 15 minutes.
  • Remember: Sleep is the only cure for Tiredness, so if necessary, find somewhere safe to stay overnight.