Why are Drivers not Alert on the Road?

Photo courtesy of Freepik Images by @daviles

A fifth of Australians drive their vehicles when they are already tired. A study indicates that one in every five Australians falls asleep on the wheel.

Of all the accidents that happen on Australian roads, 20% are related to fatigue.

You will not keep within your lane or react in an adequate time if you fall asleep on the wheel.

In fact, you are less able to deal with hazardous situations in this state of fatigue!

GOFAR has a Ray device that helps you monitor your driving habit. It can be connected to a family/friends leaderboard, thereby helping keep your mind active, on the ‘game’, while driving to help you stay awake.

1. Insufficient Sleep

In 2015, a study found that if you stay awake for 17 straight hours you will impair your driving as much as alcohol content of 0.05 will.

Even if you don’t stay awake for long hours, you could get tired for entirely different reasons.

Sleep deprivation creates a condition in your body that is known as fight or flight. This condition releases a stress hormone called cortisol.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Images by Kristian Bjornard

The high incidence of road carnage is caused by people who are continually under the influence of the stress hormones.

There’s a new phenomenon referred to as social jet lag. This is a situation where your sleep time during work nights is out of sync with your other sleep times.

People who are socially jet-lagged go to bed late, wake up tired and then go to work late or sick.

Do not forget that you might be driving in this condition.

2. Steady Frequency Vibrations

When a car is being driven, it produces some steady frequency vibrations that act as a soothing effect on your brain. Research has shown that even well-rested drivers will occasionally get drowsy.

15 minutes after you get into your car, you will already have started getting drowsy and within half an hour, you will be unable to concentrate and stay alert.

In one hour, you will be completely drowsy.

This drowsiness is caused by the low-frequency and steady vibrations of the car.

Even drivers who have had enough sleep cannot help but give in to the lulling effect of these frequencies.

Researchers have suggested that these frequencies can be used to keep people awake by, for example, designing some frequency into the car seat.

3. The Wandering Mind

If you’re tired, you are more likely to be less alert. Most people do not realize when their mind wander, and this is the problem.

In a research, the simulation participants are more likely to have their minds wander on the drive home after work.

Unfortunately, they knew that they are mind was wondering only 65% of the time.

Challenged that their mind was wondering when driving, a group of friends denied this, an indication that they were never aware of this happening.

4. Long Driving Hours

A study indicates that truck drivers are 15 times more likely to die of fatigue compared to other workers.

Recently, the Australian Trucking Association and Teletrack Navman gave awards to car designers who created a smart steering wheel that also comes with ECG monitors.

The steering wheel with the ECG monitors will monitor the heart rate readings and tell the driver when there is a need to take a rest.

Unfortunately, this technology has not been fully adopted because it is pricey and it has not been successful at changing the culture of driving for long hours.

Is Technology the Answer?

Photo courtesy of Pexels Images by Roman Pohorecki

There seems to be a technological solution for every problem that humanity encounters. However, fatigue may be caused by technology and not the other way round.

For example, most people will spend one hour before bed either on the computer screens or going through social media feeds.

There is a real pressure to be busy doing things such as shopping, eating out, or hitting the gym.

Do not be surprised to feel tired when driving if this is the case.

Fortunately, most big car companies are testing the self-driving technology which will put the driver off the steering wheel, hence, reducing the human error factor in causing accidents.


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