The topic for this blog post would have been the credit crunch and the effect thereof on car insurance companies in South Africa. An early morning accident report however changed all this! Ten people were killed and 15 others were injured when a bus and a taxi collided head-on near Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape on Monday morning, SABC reported. This accident occurred in the very early hours of the morning with many accident victims still trapped at around 8h00.
Last Thursday I had the privilege to attend the opening of the Highway Wellness Centre in Harrismith. This addresses the very important aspect of driver tiredness and provides truck drivers with the opportunity to stop at a safe location, attend to their medical needs, to enjoy a comfortable sleep and even a home cooked meal!
With the December festive season approaching and many South Africans preparing to travel long distances to family and friends, it is important that we pause for a while to consider the risks of driver drowsiness. We can call this driver fatigue, driver tiredness or drowsiness – what is important is to remember that a driver needs to be alert at all times -not only for his safety but also for the safety of those around him!
We would like to share the following advice and suggestions from the Arrive Alive website on how to avoid driver fatigue on long trips.
What are the warning signs of driver drowsiness?
- you keep yawning
- your reactions slow down
- you feel stiff your eyes feel heavy
- you find you are day dreaming
- you wander over the centre line or
- on to the edge of the road
How can I avoid drowsiness accidents?
- for long trips plan in advance so you know where you are going to take a break.
- take a break at least every 2 hours.
- plan to stay somewhere overnight if you are going on a long journey.
- share the driving – and make sure the you rest when you are not driving.
- try not to drive when you would normally be asleep (early mornings and late nights.
Precautions to follow when stopping next to the road:
- Stop at a roadside rest area. If no such facility is available, make sure that you are as far off the highway as possible.
- If it is after dark, find a lighted area to park.
- Give yourself a little outside air, but make sure that windows are closed enough to prevent entry from the outside.
- Lock all doors.
- Turn on your parking lights and turn off other electrical equipment.
- After you rest, get out of the vehicle and walk for a few minutes to be sure you are completely awake before you begin to drive again.
Also view the Arrive Alive website for more info on: