Saving Lives Together

Fatigue

fatalities in 2020 were fatigue related

.5

hours or more of sleep per night is recommended to avoid fatigued driving

%

of fatigue related KSI between 2015 and 2019 were in regional WA

km/h speed increase doubles your chance of a serious crash in 60 km/h speed zones

Previous Next

Everyone has different requirements when it comes to the amount of sleep needed to guard against fatigue. Make sure you know how much sleep you need, and get it regularly.

Effects of fatigue

As a driver, fatigue can cause you several problems including:
  • slowing your reactions and decisions
  • decreasing your tolerance for other road users
  • poor lane tracking and maintenance of speed
  • decreasing your alertness

Warning signs

Early danger signs of fatigue include:
  • wandering thoughts
  • missing a gear, road sign or exit
  • slowing unintentionally
  • braking too late
If you are driving, you should get off the road if you:
  • are yawning
  • are blinking more than usual
  • are having trouble keeping your head up
  • notice your eyes closing for a moment or going out of focus
  • forget driving the last few kilometres

Risk factors

Fatigue-related road deaths and serious injuries are not restricted to rural and regional roads, nor are they restricted to people driving long distances.
You’re most at risk between 1am and 6am when your alertness is low.
Factors increasing your risk of being involved in a sleep-related vehicle crash include:
  • working a night shift
  • averaging less than 7.5 hours sleep per night
  • poor overall quality of sleep
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • frequent night time driving (especially between midnight and 6am)
  • use of medications that cause drowsiness
  • driving after being awake for more than 15 hours
  • driving for extended periods of time
  • air toxic emissions from new motor vehicle interiors
If you have a new vehicle, the CSIRO recommends that you make sure that there is plenty of outside air entering the vehicle while you drive for at least 6 months after purchasing the vehicle. The air toxic emissions from new motor vehicle interiors can cause fatigue.

Driving long distances

Remember to get plenty of rest the night before a long trip. You should not be driving if you feel tired.
After driving for long periods, you should:
  • swap drivers where possible
  • stop for a break or coffee
  • stop to have a short sleep

Resources

  Main Roads publication - safe stopping places
  Fatigue indepth information
  Fatigue faqs
  Fatigue facts at a glance poster

 See the campaign >