Research suggests that being tired or distracted while driving accounts for 20 and 25 percent of road crashes respectively, with tired drivers even more likely to undergo distracting behaviours.
Some studies have shown that driving while tired can be just as bad as driving drunk.
“Studies have shown sleepy drivers undertake more distracting-type behaviours to increase their levels of alertness such as gazing at passing scenery and speeding in an attempt to increase their focus on the task of driving.”
It’s not only that – it is likely that some tired drivers might also reach for their phones when driving to increase their alertness – an obvious issue when you’re supposed to be keeping your eye on the road. “These behaviours were found to be more prevalent when driving long distances, which at the same time are increasing levels of sleepiness due to the time-on-task effect,” says Watling.
“Given young drivers are over-represented in crash statistics and more likely to be impaired by sleepiness and distraction, it is vital that we look at ways to reduce these behaviours and our focus should be on young drivers.”
Until we finally all have self-driving cars to drive us wherever we need, are there any solutions to keep yourself occupied?
The best advice is try to ensure you are well rested, especially before a long drive, be mindful of experiencing any signs of sleepiness and avoid distractions.