Why Are So Many Drivers Having Road Accidents?

Photo courtesy of Freepik Images by @daviles

A study by the Sleep Health Foundation found that one in every five respondents surveyed has fallen asleep behind the wheel!

The accident figures agree.

The TAC (Transport Accident Commission) declares that of all accidents that happen on Victorian roads, 20% are related to fatigue. Fatigue accidents are often bad ones, too – drivers who are asleep often don’t apply the brakes and so they are twice as likely to be fatal.

GOFAR monitors driving behaviour for drivers, giving you a score for your driving on every trip. Our research indicates that Friday afternoons see some of the most dangerous driving as commuters head home after a long, tiring week.

GOFAR helps you monitor your driving habits so you can see when your scores might be dipping. Read on to learn more about driving and fatigue – two things that definitely DON’T go well together.

1. Insufficient Sleep

Being awake for 17 hours will impair your driving as much as a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. That’s equivalent to being over the legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream while driving – with the same level of impairment and poor decision-making.

Even if you don’t stay awake for long hours in a stretch, you could still be sleep deprived. There’s a phenomenon sometimes 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 during the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Images by Kristian Bjornard

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

Basically, lack of sleep can catch up with you over time and have life-changing consequences.

2. Steady Frequency Vibrations

When a car is being driven, it produces steady, low-frequency vibrations that act as a soothing effect on your brain. Research has shown that even well-rested drivers will occasionally get drowsy because of the lulling impact of these soporific vibrations.

FACT: 15 minutes after you get into your car, you will already have started getting drowsy.

Try breaking up the journey to lessen the impact. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that winding down a window or turning up the radio will actually work – for long. Just pull over and rest as soon as you feel tired.

3. The Wandering Mind

If you’re tired, you’re more likely to be less alert. Most people don’t realise when their mind wanders, and this is the problem.  Have you ever had that experience where you suddenly realise you’re nearly home and you hardly remember driving the last few miles?

Apparently driving to work or a much-anticipated destination is more active for the mind, so pay extra attention when heading home! In a research simulation, participants were more likely to let their minds wander on the drive home after work.

4. Long Driving Hours

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 monitors the heart rate readings and tells the driver when they need to take a rest.

Unfortunately, this technology is pricey, so adoption is low and the technology still struggles to change a culture of driving for long hours.

Is Technology the Answer?

person driving using mobile phone
Image from: Pexels by Roman Pohorecki

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

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

Don’t be surprised to feel tired when driving the next morning if this is the case! Are you strong enough to banish screens and phones from your bedroom? Many parents enforce this for their children, but often not for themselves!

GOFAR: Proven to Keep You Safer on the Road

Gathering accurate data is the first step for solving most problems and a handy gadget like GOFAR can help you regularly monitor your driving habits.

GOFAR provides scores based on several factors, including accelerometer G-force information which provides an indication of how smoothly you are driving. When you’re tired, braking can become a little jerky and your accelerometer scores will drop. By simply looking out for these dips in the GOFAR app data on your smartphone, you are already doing more to change your driving behaviour than most of the drivers around you and minimising your chances of having, or causing, an avoidable road accident.

And not just when you’re tired.

GOFAR includes a Safe Driver algorithm that nudges drivers to safer, smoother driving styles no matter what the conditions, time of day or how they feel. Roads are still risky, so it’s good for old drivers and great for young drivers.

  • 23% Less Harsh Braking – In a 4 million km trial for the NSW Government, drivers with the GOFAR Ray reduced aggressive speeding by 20% and harsh braking by 23%.
  • Lower Risk Of Crashes – In the same trial – with 1,000 drivers – the Ray reduced excessive speeding by 10%, which equates to a 5% reduction in accidents – for less than $50 per device.
  • Objective Driver Scores – You can see your score for each drive, and even compare scores in the family on the in-App leaderboard.
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