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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

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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

Driver tiredness k ills

Do you ever feel like

this after lunch?

Driver tiredness k ills


  • 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

Driver tiredness k ills

Just a little bit further…

Driver tiredness k ills


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)

Driver tiredness k ills

  • 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…

Driver tiredness k ills

  • 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 k ills

Driver tiredness kills

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

Driver tiredness k ills

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?

Driver tiredness k ills

  • Shift workers

    • 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?

Driver tiredness k ills

Causes of Driver Tiredness

Driver tiredness k ills

  • We 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

Driver tiredness k ills

The body clock and

circadian rhythms

siesta time

  • minimum alertness

  • minimum performance

  • maximum alertness

  • maximum performance

early morning


6 a.m.


6 p.m.


Driver tiredness k ills



Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4









Time of day (hours)

A good night’s sleep…

Driver tiredness k ills


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

Driver tiredness k ills

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

Driver tiredness k ills

  • Large neck (collar size over 17”)

  • Overweight

  • Men, over age 50

  • Heavy snoring

  • Choking during sleep

  • Daytime sleepiness

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Driver tiredness k ills

Sleep apnoea

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

Driver tiredness k ills

Time for a brake…

Driver tiredness k ills

Have you ever felt yourself falling asleep at the wheel?

What happened?

What do you do to cope with driver tiredness?

Group discussion

Driver tiredness k ills


Doesn’t exist - just another name for

falling asleep


Driver tiredness k ills

Won’t stop you

FROM Falling asleep

at the wheel


Driver tiredness k ills

Won’t stop you

FROM Falling asleep

at the wheel


Driver tiredness k ills

  • Sucking lemons

  • 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…

Driver tiredness k ills

“Cold air will keep me awake”

  • 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

Driver tiredness k ills

“I’ve been this 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

Driver tiredness k ills

Effective Countermeasures

Driver tiredness k ills



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

Driver tiredness k ills

  • Eat a balanced diet

  • 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

Driver tiredness k ills

Dark room –mask/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

Driver tiredness k ills

Plan your journey and take a break every 2 hours

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

Driver tiredness k ills

  • Use caffeine to increase alertness when you need it

  • 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

Driver tiredness k ills

The Power Nap

Driver tiredness k ills


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?

Driver tiredness k ills

Willpower and sleep

Driver tiredness k ills

Finding it difficult to concentrate

Adjusting driving position

Stretching and yawning

Head nodding

Fighting to keep eyes open

Now… when would you take a break?

Driver tiredness k ills

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?

Driver tiredness k ills

Get the best sleep possible before starting your shift

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

Driver tiredness k ills


Driver tiredness k ills

Let’s get an early start…

Driver tiredness k ills

Fatigue has biological causes

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

Driver tiredness k ills

How long will you survive?

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 safety is our goal

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