Fighting fatigue at the wheel
In Quebec, driver fatigue is the 3rd leading cause of death on the road, after speeding and alcohol. Heavy vehicle drivers are more at risk and are involved in 15% of fatigue-related accidents. Did you know that after being awake for 17 hours, your driving is just as impaired as if you had a blood alcohol level of 0.05? If you or your employees are on the road for long hours at a time, these tips can help you keep your eyes open.
Signs of fatigue
- Trouble concentrating and maintaining a steady speed
- Accidentally changing lanes
- Missing an exit
- Eat healthy, low-fat meals before getting behind the wheel.
- Drink plenty of water (keeping well-hydrated reduces fatigue and forces you to take brakes!).
- Take breaks to stretch you legs, move around and get some fresh air.
- Keep the air in your vehicle cool – heat causes drowsiness.
- Crack the window to keep fresh air circulating: stale air and smoke increase fatigue.
- Take a 15-minutes nap in a safe place: it will help you feel rested for a few hours. Naps are a short-term solution, but they can’t replace a full night’s sleep (or consecutive hours of sleep).
Responsabilities of employers and self-employed drivers
You have a role to play when it comes to preventing fatigue-related accidents. To reduce risks, you can:
- Make a regular schedule, during the day whenever possible (drowsiness increases between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and between midnight and dawn).
- Always include 7 to 8 consecutive hours of sleep per 24-hour period to be fully rested for long trips.
- Note that it is illegal to drive for more than 13 hours consecutively.
- For more information, see the Driving an Off-Duty Time for Heavy Vehicle Drivers – Fact Sheet PDF, from the SAAQ.
- Include enough time in your schedule for pre-trip work (preparing the vehicle, loading, etc.), delays (waiting at customs) and road conditions.
Visit the Desjardins Business Insurance section for customized prevention tips, insurance solutions tailored to your business, and much more.
Content produced by Desjardins Business Insurance