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Driver Tiredness K ills. Goals of this training. To raise your awareness of the dangers of driver tiredness To challenge some of the myths we have about driver tiredness To provide you with effective countermeasures to enable you to cope with the problem. Do you ever feel like

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Driver tiredness k ills

Goals of this training
Goals of this training

To raise your awareness of the dangers of driver tiredness

To challenge some of the myths we have about driver tiredness

To provide you with effective countermeasures to enable you to cope with the problem

Do you ever feel like

this after lunch?


  • Most people don’t take sleep seriously

  • Tiredness is seen as a weakness

  • Most of us don’t get enough sleep

  • Sleep is not ‘cool’

  • Staying awake is seen as macho, cool, young

Fatigue and tiredness what s the difference
Fatigue and tiredness – what’s the difference?


Impairment due to prolonged physical or mental work

Solution: Rest (not necessarily sleep)


The likelihood of falling asleep

Solution: Sleep (rest is not sufficient)

  • Causes more than 20% of motorway accidents

  • Most frequent cause of accidental death of truck drivers

  • Accidents worse - high speed, no avoidance

  • 3 times more likely to result in death or serious injury

  • Those with sleep problems are twice as likely to have an accident at work

Facts and figures…

  • Contractor Tanker bridging at night

  • 48 hrs prior to accident, driver had slept for 3 hrs, rested for 6 hrs and driven for 28 hrs

  • Driver driving long haul

  • Accident occurred at 3:10

  • Driver was motivated by mileage incentive bonus

  • Fleet vehicle overturned

  • Driver working night shift

  • Continuous long work pattern

  • Poor sleep regime during day

  • Driver voiced his concern over tiredness

Driver tiredness kills

Driver tiredness kills

Performance after 18 hours of wakefulness is comparable to that of a drunk driver.

Number of tiredness-related fatal road accidents across a 24 hour period






Actual number of sleep related accidents






4 a.m.

6 a.m.

8 a.m.

10 a.m.


2 p.m.

4 p.m.

6 p.m.

8 p.m.

10 p.m.


2 a.m.

Time of day

When do tiredness-related accidents occur?

  • Shift workers hour period

    • especially on the first night shift

  • Driving home after a night shift

  • Truck drivers

  • Company car drivers

  • Men

    • particularly aged 18-24 and 40+

  • Skilled manual workers

Who is most at risk?

  • We hour period cannot live without sleep

  • We need about 7-8 hours of sleep every day

  • Not enough sleep leads to:

    • attention difficulties

    • slower reaction times

    • slower, muddled thinking

    • erratic speed control

    • sloppy steering

  • Effects of sleep loss build up

  • Recovery usually takes 2 full nights of sleep

Sleep is vital

The body clock and hour period

circadian rhythms

siesta time

  • minimum alertness

  • minimum performance

  • maximum alertness

  • maximum performance

early morning


6 a.m.


6 p.m.


Wake hour period


Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4









Time of day (hours)

A good night’s sleep…

A hour periodlcohol

Causes early morning awakening and disturbed sleep

Worsens existing sleepiness

Sleeping pills

Designed for “short-term” use

Effects can last too long and make you sleepy at work

Can have side effects

Smallest dose, shortest time, supervised by your doctor

Alcohol, drugs & sleep

Bought without prescription, but many can cause significant daytime sleepiness

Remedies for:

Colds and flu

Allergies (e.g. hay fever)

Travel sickness

Often contain medicine used to aid sleep

Over-the-counter medicines

  • Large neck daytime sleepiness(collar size over 17”)

  • Overweight

  • Men, over age 50

  • Heavy snoring

  • Choking during sleep

  • Daytime sleepiness

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea daytime sleepiness

Sleep apnoea affects 5% of the general population and at least 20% of truck drivers

Time for a brake… daytime sleepiness

Have you ever felt yourself falling asleep at the wheel? daytime sleepiness

What happened?

What do you do to cope with driver tiredness?

Group discussion

“HIGHWAY HYPNOSIS” daytime sleepiness

Doesn’t exist - just another name for

falling asleep


Won’t stop you daytime sleepiness

FROM Falling asleep

at the wheel


Won’t stop you daytime sleepiness

FROM Falling asleep

at the wheel


  • Sucking lemons daytime sleepiness

  • Sticking pins in your wrist

  • Holding money out of the window

  • Recounting past romances

  • Shaking your head violently

  • Putting your hair up in the sun roof

These will not keep you awake…

“Cold air will keep me awake” daytime sleepiness

  • The Facts are:

  • Cold air on your face will not keep you awake

    • … nor will listening to the radio,

    • … or chewing gum,

    • … or stretching the legs

  • Willpower will not keep you awake

Myths about tiredness

“I’ve been daytime sleepinessthis tired before,

and I can cope”

  • The Facts are:

  • When you are sleepy:

    • you over-estimate your alertness

    • your judgment is not as good

  • Microsleeps are uncontrollable and inevitable

  • Determination won’t stop you from falling asleep

  • It is harder to cope with shift work as you get older

Myths about tiredness

Effective Countermeasures daytime sleepiness

Organizational daytime sleepiness


Health and safety

  • workload & breaks

  • shift duration

  • type of work

Fitness to work

  • Sleep, not just rest

  • medical condition

  • medication

Work organization

  • shift scheduling

  • workpredictability

  • pay system

Life outside work

  • family responsibilities

  • commuting

  • lifestyle

Shared responsibilities

  • Eat a balanced diet daytime sleepiness

  • Don’t go to bed too full or too hungry

  • Avoid caffeine/alcohol before bed

  • To relax, have a warm bath or shower before bed

  • Exercise regularly, but not just before bedtime

A healthy lifestyle

Dark room – daytime sleepinessmask/heavy curtains

Quiet room – -turn off the phone

- Do not disturbsign on front door

- ear plugs

- white noise machines (e.g. fan)

Cooltemperature – 65o F

Comfortable bed – firm, supporting, check condition

The ideal sleep environment

Plan your journey and take a break every 2 hours daytime sleepiness

If you are feeling tired STOP DRIVING

Park somewhere safe

Call your scheduler if necessary

Have a couple of cups of strong coffee

Followed by a 15-20 minute nap

Remember that this is an emergency measure

On the road

  • Use caffeine to increase alertness when you need it daytime sleepiness

  • Takes about 20 minutes to have an effect

  • Don’t use it when you are already alert

  • Avoid caffeine near bedtime

  • Don’t dehydrate – do drink water also

  • Effects can be long lasting - know your own limits

Use of caffeine

The Power Nap daytime sleepiness

When: daytime sleepiness

You are fighting to keep your eyes open?

You find it difficult to concentrate?

You are repeatedly stretching and yawning?

You keep adjusting your driving position?

Your head is nodding?

When would you take a break from driving?

Willpower and sleep daytime sleepiness

Finding it difficult to concentrate daytime sleepiness

Adjusting driving position

Stretching and yawning

Head nodding

Fighting to keep eyes open

Now… when would you take a break?

The journey home is a high risk time for falling asleep at the wheel

Many accidents occur close to destinations

We naturally relax and unwind after a long day and as we get close to home

Gives the body a signal that it is safe to sleep

Don’t be tempted to push on - STOP. Take a break.

Minutes from home?

Get the best sleep possible before starting your shift the wheel

When working shift work

try to get as much sleep as you would on a day off

ask your family to help you get adequate sleep

when on nights, try not to delay this sleep to later in the day

Listen to your body

If you feel sleepy and circumstances allow -


Getting enough sleep

QUIZ the wheel

Fatigue has biological causes the wheel

The effects of sleep loss build up

If you ignore sleepiness, in the end you will fall asleep uncontrollably

Two full nights in a row of good sleep are needed for recovery

The body clock programs us to sleep at night

The body clock does not adapt to night work

There is no single, simple answer to fatigue problems

These are recommendations – find what works for you

Improve your own situation… now!!!

Key Points - Summary

How long will you survive? the wheel

No food – 3 to 4 weeks

No water – 3 to 4 days

No shelter – 3 to 4 hours

No sleep when driving –

3 to 4 seconds

Your safety is our goal
Your the wheelsafety is our goal