When you are taking a road trip, the longer you spend behind the wheel without a break the greater your risk of having an accident. It is not simply you who is at risk of driver fatigue, but every other road user too. Driver fatigue is a leading cause of road traffic accidents and the condition can be aggravated by the hypnotic effect of watching the road for hours on end.

In July 2009, Virginia Department of Transport (VDOT) announced the closure of nearly half of the interstate rest areas within the state. This cost saving measure increased the potential for accidents, and left truckers and other drivers without a safe area to take a break at. One of Gov. Bob McDonnell pledges during his gubernatorial campaign was to reopen the closed rest areas. All of Virginia鎶?rest areas are to be open again by April 15, 2010. Rest areas are there to be safe, and help you take a break during long trips.

There are symptoms to look for when you are driving:
– Feeling drowsy;
– Fixation on the vehicle in front or the center line;
– Feeling tense or anxious;
– Gentle swerving out of lane either towards this website the nearside of into offside traffic lanes; or
– Loss of concentration and attention.

It is vital you take steps to address driver fatigue and this starts with planning your trip. Plan your route so you know where and when you can stop and take a break ?even taking five minutes to grab a coffee or have a stretch out of the vehicle will make a great deal of difference to your concentration and alertness levels. With many states closing rest stops, it is more important than ever that you plan ahead.

Don’t start your journey tired ?make sure you are alert and awake enough to drive safely. Ensure you get some proper sleep before you set off on a long road trip and never drive if you feel impaired because of lack of sleep.

Don’t rely on coffee and caffeine to keep you alert for hours; the effects of caffeine can provide a “jolt” to the system and give the feeling of being revived and alert. In practice it is not your feeling of being alert which counts; it is how alert and responsive you are in fact. Excessive caffeine in your system will lead to check here an inability to react appropriately in a driving situation, and it can also lead to an inability to focus on the driving task in hand.

Take regular rest stops in a safe area ?pulling over to the side of the road is a high risk event. When a vehicle collides with a stationary vehicle pulled up on the side of the road a fatality is usual, serious injury is common. The side of the road should only be used in emergencies and not taking a rest break.

Where possible, share the driving with your passengers so everyone gets a share here break and this will ensure the driver is always alert and focused on getting you to your destination safely and in good shape.