Driver fatigue one of the Fatal Five

With many of us hitting the roads this Easter long weekend, after-hours doctors are reminding drivers to manage their fatigue.

Drivers are being urged to be aware of the warning signs and know how to take precautions to avoid driving tired.

Just how serious is driver fatigue?

Queensland’s peak motoring body RACQ conducted a survey in late 2018 and found:

  • Fatigue-related accidents are 50 per cent more likely to result in death
  • Driver fatigue is one of the top five leading factors contributing to road crashes
  • 36 per cent of drivers admit to driving while tired or struggling to stay awake behind the wheel
  • Despite 96 per cent of drivers saying they thought drowsy drivers were a danger, many continue to drive tired
  • Many drivers believe they can still drive if they use a quick fix such as coffee or listening to loud music.

Drivers most at risk

All drivers are affected by driver fatigue, regardless of how experienced they may be. Those at higher risk of fatigue-related crashes are:

  • Young drivers
  • Those who have been drinking prior to driving, whether large or small amounts
  • Male drivers
  • Drivers in rural areas
  • Drivers aged 50 or older
  • Shift workers and those who work long hours
  • Commercial drivers, such as those operating trucks
  • Those with sleeping problems or disruptions such as insomnia
  • People suffering from illness or pain.

How to avoid driver fatigue

Doctors have warned of the effects of fatigue and encourage drivers to take the following precautions to keep themselves and others safe on the road:

  1. Be aware of the warning signs of fatigue, which include boredom, poor concentration, restlessness, changes in speed while driving, yawning and heavy eyelids
  2. Ensure you have a proper night’s sleep before driving. Seven to nine hours is the recommended amount
  3. Avoid driving when you would normally be asleep
  4. Take breaks if you are travelling far distances – at least one break for every two hours of driving
  5. A simple 10 to 20 minute nap will decrease levels of fatigue
  6. Be cautious of medications you are taking, as some may increase drowsiness. Ask your GP or pharmacist for information.

Are you planning to go away for the Easter long weekend?


House Call Doctor sends a home doctor to you and your family when your regular GP is closed at night and on weekends and public holidays. To book a house call home doctor patients should call 13 55 66 or book online or via the House Call Doctor App.