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Stress and Fatigue

3 July 2020

Evidence available from The Road Safety Observatory highlights that:

  • Driving while fatigued or sleepy leads to impairment of driving performance by increasing reaction times, reducing attention and compromising the driver’s ability to control their vehicle.
  • Sleep-related vehicle accidents are more common on long monotonous roads due to the lack of stimulating scenarios.
  • Fatigued drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident resulting in the fatal injury of themselves or their vehicle’s occupants than non-fatigued drivers.

Offering advice for drivers returning to work, expert in fatigue management Dr Paul Jackson says: 'For employers of fleet drivers there are additional safety-related issues to consider. Firstly, drivers may have been off work for 6 weeks or longer, during which they may have adapted to different sleep patterns, engaged in less physical activity as well as eating and drinking differently. For example, drivers may have become accustomed to staying up much later than normal, and getting up later than normal. Returning to work will necessitate a switch back to what were ‘normal’ sleep arrangements before the pandemic began.'  Further advice and guidance is available here.

Stress can affect driving in many ways. It can make you lash out at other drivers or become panicked about the idea of getting in a car altogether. One of the worst times to lose control is when you’re behind the wheel. 

An article available from The National Road Safety Partnership Programme, stresses the responsibility business managers have to protect the health and wellbeing of employees. It highlights how small changes to the way they operate can transform how  drivers react in stressful situations and keep them healthy on the road.

DriverMetrics has published a new guide for fleet managers which addresses the impact of Covid-19 on driver stress.

Written by DriverMetrics Research Director, Dr Lisa Dorn, the guide covers identifying the signs of driver stress during the pandemic;  its effects on crash involvement, and practical advice on supporting drivers at this challenging time.