Protecting lives by addressing driving fatigue

Published on 05 July 2023

Fatigue-related accidents pose a significant threat to both drivers and other road users. The effects of fatigue can impair judgment, decrease reaction times, and impact concentration levels, resulting in an increased risk of accidents.  Driving while fatigued can be equally dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Ingrid Le Fevre, Eastern Waikato Road Safety Education Advisor, is urgently highlighting the dangers of fatigue among all drivers. Some of us are driving longer distances with road closures it is crucial to raise your own awareness, educate you, your friends and family, and promote responsible behaviour behind the wheel. We want you to complete your journey safely. 

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Recognising the signs of fatigue while driving is paramount to prevent potentially devastating consequences. Common indicators can be:

  • Yawning or blinking frequently
  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Missing road signs or exits
  • Experiencing difficulty remembering the last part of your journey.

If any of these signs are observed, immediate action should be taken to ensure the safety of all road users.

To combat the dangers of fatigue while driving, East Waikato Road Safety encourages people to adopt the following measures:

1. Prioritise Sufficient Sleep
Ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep before embarking on a long drive. It's recommended that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

2. Plan for Breaks
Plan regular breaks during long drives. Get out of your vehicle every hour, especially on trips exceeding two hours. Take short naps, stretch, or engage in light physical activity to combat drowsiness.

3. Avoid Driving During Sleepy Hours
Be cautious when driving during periods when your body is naturally inclined to sleep, such as late at night or early in the morning.

4. Share the Responsibility
If possible, share the driving responsibilities with a passenger, taking turns to rest and stay alert. Passengers can keep an eye on drivers, make sure they are well hydrated, and have regular snacks.

5. Avoid Medication Side Effects
Be aware of medications that may cause drowsiness as a side effect. Consult with healthcare professionals and carefully read labels before driving.

6.  Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to your body's signals and pull over in a safe location if you experience any signs of fatigue. Take a nap, have a snack, or stretch before continuing your journey.

By prioritising road safety and understanding the dangers of driving while fatigued, we can protect their lives and the lives of others on the road.


Thanks to everyone across East Waikato who came out to our Fatigue Pit stops during Road Safety Month (pictured above). We look forward to seeing you at the next East Waikato Fatigue stops. Keep an eye on your local Council Facebook or More FM for more details.

East Waikato Road Safe is a collaborative initiative between our Council, Hauraki District Council and Matamata-Piako District Council.