Though not appearing to be physically demanding, driving requires attention, quick decision making and proper action.
Different people have different ability, and each person’s ability can change depending on their mental and physical fitness. Refrain from driving when you are not at your best.
- Know your own limits. Sometimes deciding not to drive is the best choice.
Some of the factors that come into play with regards to physical health include:
Age affects coordination and vision, and thus driving.
As one gets older and has more driving experience, s/he learns more about her/his driving skill limits, slowing down more as necessary
Younger drivers have quicker reflexes and tend to have better vision, but often act more impulsively with less experience, thus producing more accidents
Being tired makes it harder for you to perceive, interpret, judge and choose
It also causes reduced muscular coordination and thus your reflexes will not be as quick
Fatigue kills young drivers at a higher rate than older drivers.
Falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous, if not deadly
A tired driver has reduced reaction times.
For the safety of yourself and others, if you need to pull over to rest – do so.
Causes of Lack of Sleep Boredom Stress Alcohol or drugs Illness Overeating Glare from the sun Driving for too long without taking a break Driving during normal sleeping hours A long day at school or work Time of day: especially between 1 and 5pm A day of hard exercice An overly warm vehicle interior Effects of fatigue Blurred vision Lower vision capability Misjudge speed Seeing double Easily irritate Poor timing of action Loss of depth perception Taking unusual risks Drowsiness Loss of control or falling asleep
- Warning Signs
Trouble keeping your eyes open and/or head up Difficulty maintaining speed You cannot remember the last few minutes of your drive Your vehicle is drifting into another lane.
- Fatigue Prevention
Get plenty of sleep
Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs/medicine that cause drowsiness
Avoid heavy and fatty foods
Don’t drive when sick
Don’t drive late at night or when you would normally be sleeping
Take breaks every 2 hours
Listen to music/talk to passengers
Wear sunglasses to cope with glare
Roll down windows
Shift your seating position
Scan for hazards constantly
Frequently check mirrors
Pull-over and nap when you feel tired
Keep your car interior cool
Drink coffee/other caffeinated drink. NOTE: when caffeine wears off the level of fatigue can be worse
Stop at a rest stop and stretch, walk or jog
Don’t try to tough it out. Drowsiness is not something that can be fought off.
Admit you are drowsy and stop for a rest.
Find a safe roadside rest area
At night, locate a well lit, highly visible rest area
Turn off the engine
Open the window a bit to get fresh air
Lock your vehicle’s doors
Relax and just try to rest.
After resting, walk around the vehicle to wake up.
Even doctor prescribed medicine can cause drowsiness. Be sure to check labels before driving.
Nicotine and caffeine also affect your ability to drive.
Driving under the influence of illegal drugs is dangerous and imposes serious penalties usually including license suspension, heavy fines, and possible imprisonment.
- Chronic Illness
Those suffering from chronic illness may be licensed as long as their illness is under medical control.
Those with physical disabilities also drive using special controls to adjust for their particular disability.