Bryan Ward - Driver Fatigue

Publish Date
Thursday, 15 June 2017, 12:28PM
By Bryan Ward

People often think that driver fatigue means falling asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep, however, is an extreme form of fatigue. Fatigue is tiredness, weariness or exhaustion. You can be fatigued enough for it to impair your driving long before you ‘nod off’ at the wheel. For example, when you are fatigued: • your reactions are much slower • your ability to concentrate is reduced • it takes longer to interpret and understand the traffic situation.

Tips on avoiding fatigue (NZTA)

  • Get a good night's sleep before driving, preferably eight hours.
  • Avoid driving during the hours when you would normally be sleeping.
  • If you normally have a mid-afternoon nap, then you should avoid driving at that time.
  • Make sure you are fully awake before driving following a period of sleep.
  • Share the driving when possible.
  • Don't drink even small amounts of alcohol. It will make the effects of fatigue much worse.
  • When taking long trips, plan your journey to include rest breaks, at least every 2 hours.
  • Ensure you get plenty of fresh air.
  • Snack on light, fresh foods. Avoid consuming fatty, sugary or carbohydrate-filled foods, which can make you feel tired.
  • If possible, avoid driving for several days following long distance air travel. Jetlag can creep up on you and you may not even feel tired.
  • Take a friend with you on your travel who will help you stay awake.
  • Listening to music can be a short-term solution.
  • Avoid taking any medication that may lead to drowsiness.

Find our more :

Bryan Ward is a Pan Auckland Community Constable across the Auckland area and has been a police officer for over 18 years.

Bryan has been a national trainer for the neighbourhood policing teams and community constables in the Police and developed and features in a children's safety television programme called Bryan and Bobby you can visit them on their website:

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