Brian Joss – One of the core tenets of defensive driving is planning ahead. If you know how much time a trip will take or are prepared for areas which often have dense traffic, you are less likely to be stressed while driving because you are late. The same concept can be applied when planning your trip to a holiday destination.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says drivers should plan their journey so that they can stop for a break every two hours. “Taking a 15 minute break, for every two hours of driving, helps to prevent fatigue behind the wheel. A study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists in the UK, says that approximately 23 000 crashes are as a result of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.
“Other studies suggest that driving fatigued is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. It is estimated that if you drive for three hours without a break at night, it is the equivalent of driving drunk.
Driving fatigued, however, is much more difficult to police than drunk driving which leaves the onus to avoid driving while tired, on drivers.”
It is for this reason that planning your trip before you leave is essential.
“If you do not already know, check where the rest stops are located along your route. This has extra importance if your route has long stretches between towns and no safe opportunities to stop for a break or to refuel.
“By planning where to stop before you leave, you also ensure you choose the best stops for your needs. If you have children, certain stops have better playgrounds. If you are travelling with your pets, other rest stops have special facilities for them to release their energy. You can also choose the best place to stop for a healthy meal around lunch time. Never rely on your GPS or GPS function alone in case you have difficulties with it,” advises Herbert.
Other planning which can help you arrive safely include: determining when you will need to refill fuel and deciding which stop you will do this at and getting one of your passengers to keep an eye on social media sites which share traffic updates. If there is unusual traffic, you can take an alternative route if available.
A few minutes spent planning your stops the day before you leave can have a major impact on your life. Think twice before jumping in the car without a plan.
CAPTION: Plan ahead: one way to combat driver fatigue. Picture: Rawpixel.com/ Motorpress