Fatigue: A Common Cause Of Collision

Concentration is defined as “total application of mind and body to one particular endeavour to the exclusion of all else.”

Total focus is simply not natural or normal; you cannot sustain constant focus like a computer does. There is a limit to how long you can stay “on track” before your mind wanders.

When you are fresh and alert you can pay attention for longer. When you are tired, bored, distracted or under pressure, your attention span is severely limited.

Severe pressures, health issues and alcohol will reduce your ability to concentrate.

What is it that affects your concentration most of all? There are times where simply letting the mind wander to work or family issues, even for a moment, can result in an incident.

Tactics to manage fatigue

  • Maintain good space around your vehicle to allow for a margin of error, by both you and other drivers.
  • Take regular breaks to refresh your mind.
  • Get a good night sleep and avoid driving when tired.
  • If you tend to be more alert and awake in the evenings, try to plan your day accordingly.
  • Avoid driving during core ‘sleep hours’ when your body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Eating light meals is preferable to heavier food that aggravates fatigue.
  • Any alcohol can affect your alertness even if below the prescribed limit for driving.
  • 18% of road fatalities in the UK involve someone over the legal alcohol limit for driving.
  • 17% of road fatalities involve alcohol consumption below the legal limit.

Summary

  • Know your body and understand your weaknesses.
  • Plan your diary to drive when you are most alert.
  • If you feel tired, stop in a safe place and rest. There is no replacement for sleep so take a short nap if possible.

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