ROAD As a Board Member of the MotorAccident Commission the harsh realityof road deaths in South Australia issomething I am reminded of everyday.It is also something that effects theTransport Workers Union and we havelost members as a result of tragicaccidents on the roads.
It is for this reason that I think it isgood to get back to basics and remindourselves to stay safe on the road.We can often get distracted by loomingdeadlines, work issues, traffic delaysor even things that are happening athome and forget to take care of thebasics behind the wheel.Already in 2010 we have had 4 deathson the road involving heavy vehicles.In 2009 15 people died in heavyvehicles on South Australian roads.
We need to take note of these statisticsand remind ourselves to stay safe onthe road.The Motor Accident Commission isalways running campaigns to increasedriver awareness on the road.One of their current campaigns thatrepresents the transport industry isfatigue.The introduction of the new heavyvehicle driver fatigue laws during 2009put this issue at the forefront of thetransport industry.I just want to take the time to get backto basics and remind ourselves of theimportance of staying awake and alerton the road.
WHAT IS FATIGUE?
Occurs when a person becomestired or fatigued after driving for twohours without a break. For example,when taking a long drive to a holidaydestination.
Driving Whilst Fatigued:
Occurs when a person drives afterbeing awake for 17+ hours. For example,shift workers or people with busy,stressful lives.
Fatigue can develop as a result of any ofthe following:
• Working long hours
• Getting poor sleep
• Driving for too long and not takingbreaks
• Getting less than normal sleep
• Insufficiently resting prior to driving
• Driving home late at night
• Driving when you would normally besleeping
• Driving whilst tired
• Driving some time after drinking alcohol
Fatigue related crashes are often onopen roads at high speeds and occurduring the hours of 1pm-3pm and 2am-6am, with a higher incidence on Friday,Saturday and Sunday.
THE WARNING SIGNS
You knowthat you are becoming fatigued if you have acombinationof any of thefollowing:
• Difficulty keeping head up and eyesopen
• Eyes feel sore and heavy
• Vision starts to blur
• Seeing things
• Difficulty holding a conversation
• Impatience and making rash decisions
• Reactions seem slow
• Feeling stiff or cramped
• Wandering over the centre line, intoanother lane or on to the road edge
• Hearing droning or humming in yourears
• Not noticing a vehicle until it suddenlyovertakes
• Not remembering driving the last fewkilometres
When you notice any of these warningsigns, take a break .
Rest every twohours.
*Driving while fatigued is a problem foreveryone on the road. Do your part andstay safe.