No matter how much or how little you drive for work, fatigue can put you at risk. It can affect all drivers regardless of age, skill level, or experience. Your employer needs to educate, train, and supervise you in safe driving procedures. You can also take some basic steps to help prevent fatigue.
Some Ways to Stay Awake and Alert
You might drive for hours each day or a few minutes each trip. For your own safety, always drive defensively and only when rested. Don’t tack driving on to the end of a long day. Opening your windows to get wind on your face or turning up the radio are not effective ways to stay awake when tired while driving.
Follow your employer’s instructions for controlling the risks of driving. You have the right to refuse unsafe work. This could include driving if you are mentally or physically impaired due to fatigue.
You can also take the following steps to help reduce or prevent fatigue on the road:
Manage Your JourneyStart by asking whether driving is necessary. Can you make a video call instead? If you have to get behind the wheel, plan your trip. Check DriveBC.ca to review road conditions. Allow more time than you think you’ll need so you don’t have to speed. Schedule breaks. Check your phone before leaving, then put it away.
Set Up Your Workplace on Wheels
Take Regular BreaksIf you’re on a lengthy drive, stop your vehicle about every 2 hours at a rest stop, park, or somewhere else that’s quiet. Get out and stretch your limbs. Have a drink of water. Take a stroll of 5 to 10 minutes.
Watch What You Eat and DrinkHealthy food and hydration can help you stay alert. Drink water or beverages low in sugar and caffeine. Choose high-protein snacks over fatty foods such as fries.
Take a Nap
A nap is a great way to shed mental fatigue. Napping during a break or after pulling over while driving can help make up for a lack of sleep. Here are a few tips for an effective nap:
- Schedule it to suit your personal biorhythms
- Keep it to 30 minutes at the most
- Take a few minutes to fully wake up before resuming activity