Fatigue on the Road: Causes and Solutions

As commercial auto electricians in Perth, Lyons Air works with all kinds of clients whose jobs require time on the road: people in transport, earthmoving and mining. Many of our clients have fleets of cars, trucks or specialised equipment, and we keep the electrical systems and air conditioning in the cabs in good repair. In the past, we’ve posted about the dangers of heat illness on the job. However, heat illness isn’t the only hazard that drivers and equipment operators face. Fatigue is a huge danger, too, especially for people whose work requires them to spend long hours driving a car or truck.
Fatigue on the Road: It’s a Risk

According to WorkSafe Victoria’s Guide to Safe Work Related Driving, fatigue is a factor in least a quarter of crashes. In fact, driving tired is similar to driving drunk in terms of its effects on alertness and reaction time; spending 17 hours on the road results in a level of impairment that is similar to .05 blood alcohol content, the legal limit in Western Australia.

It’s easy to spot it when someone else on the road is suffering from fatigue: they’re probably drifting from side to side, varying speed and otherwise showing poor concentration and impaired coordination. However, if it’s you, you’re much less likely to be aware of it. That’s why it is so important to minimise your risk of fatigue.

Avoiding Fatigue

Fatigue can result from not enough sleep, poor quality sleep, too much uninterrupted driving, and other types of mental and physical stress. It can also be caused and worsened by excessive heat, vibration and noise. That sounds exactly like the environment in a truck or in the cab of a piece of heavy-duty equipment, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s so important to keep the factors you can control in line: get enough sleep, sleep regular hours, take breaks, keep your cab cool and make sure you get regular meals and plenty of hydration. It should go without saying: if you’re ill with a cold, flu or other illness, if you have chronic pain, or if you’re taking drugs that could affect your alertness, then don’t operate a vehicle or a piece of heavy equipment.

What if you’re on the road and feeling tired? Take a break. Drink some cool water from your Waeco or Engel portable fridge, and if you’re hungry, eat. Plan ahead, scheduling motels and back-up drivers as necessary. Avoid driving at night. Of course, caffeine helps in a pinch, too.

Lyons Air Conditioning specialises in truck and automotive air conditioning, and our clients know it’s important to keep their vehicles’ air conditioning in good shape. They also know how important it is to keep themselves alert and well rested. Heat can be deadly, but so can fatigue. Remember, fatigue is worsened by work in a hot, loud environment. Keeping your automotive or truck air conditioning is top condition doesn’t just help to prevent heat illness, it helps keep fatigue at bay, as well.

Lyons Auto Air Conditioning and Auto Electrical | graph-fatigue-vs-driving-hours