Fatigue isn't just about falling asleep while driving. Even brief lapses in concentration can have serious consequences. On average, between 2015 to 2019, approximately 12% of lives lost on Queensland roads were from fatigue-related crashes. However, this figure is likely to be higher, as it can be difficult to tell when fatigue is a contributing factor in crashes.
It is important to recognise the warning signs of fatigue and take appropriate action.
Being awake for more than 17 hours has a similar effect on performance as having a blood alcohol content of more than 0.05. So don't put yourself at risk.
Warning signs of tiredness
The risks of driving when tired apply even when you do not fall asleep at the wheel. Even short lapses in concentration caused by tiredness or drowsiness can have serious consequences on your driving.
When you are experiencing fatigue, your brain can have short periods of sleep called 'microsleeps'. Microsleeps can last from a fraction of a second, up to 10 full seconds. You cannot control them.
It is important to recognise the warning signs of tiredness. These include:
- noticing your eyes closing for a moment or going out of focus
- blinking more than usual
- feeling drowsy, tired or exhausted
- having trouble keeping your head up
- forgetting the previous few minutes of driving
- starting to 'see' things
- droning and humming in ears
- general tiredness
- stiffness and cramps
- aches and pains
- experiencing slower reaction times
- changing speed without reason
- fumbling for gear changes
- drifting in the lane or over lane lines.
Tips to avoid driving tired
- get a good night's sleep
- avoid driving at times you're normally sleeping
- avoid long drives after a day's work
- understand the effects any medicine you're taking might have on your driving
- plan ahead – work out rest stops and overnight stops
- take regular breaks – you should stop for at least 15 minutes every 2 hours
- share the driving if you can
- use rest areas, tourist spots and driver reviver stops
- stop and rest as soon as you feel tired
- never drive for more than 10 hours in a single day
The driver reviver program aims to reduce the effects of driving tired by encouraging motorists to 'STOP REVIVE SURVIVE'.
View the driver reviver timetable.
There are rest areas across the Queensland road network open all year round to help you manage your fatigue and not drive tired. There are 3 different types of rest areas available:
- motorist rest areas—for general and recreational vehicles (including caravans and motorhomes) only
- heavy vehicle rest areas—exclusively for heavy vehicles only
- combined motorist and heavy vehicle rest areas—where there are designated areas for trucks, and general and recreational vehicles.
General and recreational vehicles can stop at a rest area for up to 20 hours unless signed otherwise, but they are not camping sites or an accommodation option. It is important motorists use rest areas designated for the type of vehicle they are driving. Check with the authority responsible for the relevant rest area for more information.
Truck drivers need to be able to rest in the heavy vehicle rest areas – they should not be used by other motorists, or to stop and camp.
Fines may apply if you are not driving a commercial or heavy vehicle and you are found using a heavy vehicle rest area. These fines are in place to make sure truck drivers get to take their legislated rest breaks when using Queensland roads.
Wide Centre line and Audible tactile line marking
Wide centre line treatments replace the existing dividing centre line/s on a road with two new lines approximately one metre apart, which creates a greater distance between opposing directions of traffic. This extra distance between opposing directions of traffic provides additional reaction time if a driver unintentionally drifts across the centre line towards oncoming traffic.
Audible tactile line marking are small raised white bumps that alert motorists through sound and vibration when they are veering out of their lane into oncoming traffic or the edge of the road.
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